Philippines in 'advance' talks with 6 coronavirus vaccine makers: official

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 06 2021 01:01 PM | Updated as of Jan 06 2021 01:42 PM

Gov't eyes deals for 148 million doses this month

A medical worker prepares a dose of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a community health centre in Qingdao, Shandong province, China Ja. 5, 2021. China Daily/Reuters

MANILA — The Philippines is in "advance" negotiations with 6 makers of vaccines against the novel coronavirus, an official said on Wednesday, while other territories have launched their COVID-19 mass inoculation drives.

"Ang gobyerno po ay may portfolio ng vaccines. Ibig sabihin po nito marami tayong pagkukuhanan ng bakuna sa iba-ibang mga manufacturer," said vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.
 
(The government has a portfolio of vaccines. This means that we have many sources of vaccines from various manufacturers.

"We are now in the advance stages on negotiations with Novavax, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, at (and) Gamaleya," he said in a public briefing.

If negotiations push through, the Philippines will secure 148 million vaccine doses from these manufacturers, he said.

"We hope to close the deals with these companies this month," Galvez said.

The Philippines also "stands to receive full-subsidized doses for 20 percent [of the population] or 22 million Filipinos through the Covax facility," a global initiative that aims to provide countries "equitable access" to vaccines, said Galvez.

The government aims to inoculate 50 million-70 million Filipinos this year, including the following groups included in the vaccination priority list, he said.

The vaccination drive aims "to achieve the full recovery of the economy and the lives of our Filipino people," he said.

The country's drug regulator has not yet approved any COVID-19 vaccine for local use. However, some soldiers and members of President Rodrigo Duterte's security team have been vaccinated against the respiratory disease, officials said.

Territories that have rolled out vaccination drives against COVID-19 include China, the US, Singapore, and the European Union.

Video courtesy of PTV