MANILA — The Philippines is about to clinch around 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by next week with one manufacturer delivering by February, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez said on Monday.
“All in all, we can have at least 100 [million] doses,” Galvez told Senator Sherwin Gatchalian during a senate hearing, "if the negotiation held this coming week and next week will be successful,” referring to agreements signing with Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Pfizer.
He said there is also one manufacturer that is expected to deliver their vaccines by February 20, but refused to identify the brand, citing the government's confidentiality data agreement with the company.
Galvez said the 30 million doses of Covovax secured from the Serum Institute of India, which partnered with US-based Novavax, can still be increased.
“We agreed that it can be expanded to additional 10 million for the LGUs and private sector. So in all, we will have 40 [million],” he said.
“Sinovac - we have already been in coordination with the Chinese government, and they committed 25 million doses,” he added.
As for the company AstraZeneca, Galvez said the local government units and the private sector “were able to lock in 13 million, including the 2.5 million that we have earlier signed.” He said they are set to sign another document with AstraZeneca on Tuesday or Thursday.
“We will be getting 25 million also [of Gamaleya’s vaccine]. The Russian government has committed to deploy that also this coming February the earliest, similar to Sinovac,” he added.
“We are still negotiating with Moderna. They are allocating us more or less 15 to 20 million dosage,” Galvez said, adding that the private sector through businessman Enrique Razon will be assisting in bringing the vaccine to the Philippines. He said a meeting is already scheduled for Tuesday or Wednesday.
Galvez said he still can’t say how many doses were being promised by Pfizer, the first company to apply for emergency use of vaccines in the Philippines, but that it is “a very sizable amount.”
Meanwhile, he said there is already a “conclusive signing of an initial document” with Johnson & Johnson, whose pharmaceutical company Janssen has already gotten the Food and Drug Administration’s approval to run clinical trials in the Philippines.
Galvez said the country is also expected to receive 40 million doses from the COVAX Facility, which aims for equitable access to vaccines for developing countries.
The vaccine czar said there are more diplomatic agreements being arranged in case there is a “surplus” of vaccine supplies. He said it won’t be a huge portion, but the country will be prioritized for an allocation.
During the hearing, the senators asked what happens if the vaccines of Novavax and Sinovac arrive and they still haven’t applied for emergency use authorization (EUA) in the Philippines.
“They need the EUA before they are actually used. Kailangan mag-apply na ngayon (They need to apply now),” FDA Director General Eric Domingo said.
Currently, only Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Russia’s Gamaleya Institute have applied for emergency use in the Philippines. The first two are expected to get a decision this month.
Domingo said Sinovac is just consolidating the results of their trials in Brazil and Turkey, and are expected to apply soon.
He said they will also ask Galvez for help since Novavax has not applied yet.
“We will be working on this immediately. So we will be working with FDA,” Galvez said of the impending EUA application of Moderna and other vaccine developers.
The Philippines has recorded a total of 489,736 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Monday, including 22,114 active infections, 458,206 recoveries and 9,416 fatalities.
The United Kingdom, United States, and some other countries have already begun inoculating priority sectors of their population against COVID-19.