DOH says not favoring any brand in vaccine purchase

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 12 2021 05:14 PM

MANILA — The government is not favoring Chinese vaccine developer Sinovac, the health department said, a day after Malacanang announced that it has secured 25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from the pharmaceutical company. 

“Ang tinitignan ng gobyerno is a portfolio of vaccines. Hindi lang isa, dalawa,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during ABS-CBN Teleradyo’s On the Spot program.

(What the government is looking at is a portfolio of vaccines. Not just one or two…)

Vergeire explained that the market price posted by vaccine developers is not exactly the price that the government would get.

“This is through negotiation. You can lower down the prices,” she said.

Data released by Senator Sonny Angara’s office last December showed Sinovac costs around P3,600 per dose and is the 2nd most expensive on the list, after Moderna. Pfizer, which already has World Health Organization’s emergency use approval, is around P2,400.

“Wala tayong binibigyan na preference ng mga vaccine. Kung sino ang manufacturer that can provide us with the vaccines that we need yun ang pinupursue natin,” the health official added.

She said the vaccines will be on equal footing once they go through another round of evaluation by the FDA.

Vergeire said they cannot reveal yet the prices of the vaccines that are under negotiation because of the required confidentiality data agreement.

The vaccine from China-based Sinovac is said to be among the first to enter the country because of its supply availability. 

Sinovac can still apply for an emergency use authorization (EUA) before their expected shipment arrives in February, Vergeire said. It takes around 21 days for the FDA to grant an EUA.

She said the advance commitments are important to ensure that the country will have enough supply of vaccines. 

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