Finance chief assures enough funds for COVID-19 vaccines

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 14 2021 01:24 PM

Finance chief assures enough funds for COVID-19 vaccines 1
Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez III. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The government has sufficient funds to procure enough doses of COVID-19 vaccines from various sources to inoculate at least 50 million Filipinos, the Department of Finance said on Thursday.
 
In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the DOF has “in place” P75 billion of the P82.5 billion budget required to provide vaccines to around 55 percent of the population.

The DOF said of the P82.5 billion vaccine budget, P2.5 billion will come from the Department of Health, P10 billion will come from Bayanihan 2, while the remaining P70 billion will be sourced from loans.

Multilateral institutions such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, are expected to lend P62.5 billion to procure COVID-19 vaccines for adult Filipinos, Dominguez said.

“So, basically, we are going to be covered and I think we will be able easily now, with the resources that we have raised, to vaccinate 60 million Filipinos,” he said.

The government is targeting to inoculate between 50 to 70 million adult Filipinos aged 18 years old and above, Dominguez said, as the vaccines are not yet cleared for children.

Conservative estimates put the cost of vaccination at P1,300, which already includes the required doses, syringe, storage, equipment, information campaign, monitoring and other support services, Dominguez said.

The Philippines is set to hold a dry run next week to ensure that facilities are ready to receive the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines supposed to arrive next month.

Senators meanwhile said they will ask the government to disclose the prices of the vaccines it has so far purchased or secured.

Lawmakers said it was "worrisome" that the Philippines ordered 25 million doses of vaccine from China's Sinovac which was found to have a 50.4 percent efficacy rate in a recent Brazil study, but appeared to be more expensive than other vaccines.

The agency in charge of producing vaccines meanwhile insisted that the Sinovac vaccine supplies that the government was procuring was "300 percent cheaper" than its market price.

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