'Normalcy' in 2023 if gov't, private sector, communities unite vs COVID-19, says vaccine czar

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 13 2021 01:16 PM | Updated as of Jan 13 2021 01:40 PM

MANILA — Filipinos may see some sense of normalcy by 2023 if the country takes a unified front to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, an official leading the immunization effort against the disease said on Wednesday, as the country remained under quarantine nearly a year since it was first imposed. 

The mass vaccination against the novel coronavirus requires engaged government agencies and the private sector, "highly committed" local officials, a supportive academe, a well-prepared health care system, and adequately informed communities, said Carlito Galvez Jr, Chief Implementer of the National Task Force on COVID-19. 

"It is only through this that we can implement a sustainable immunization program to recover the economy and restore normalcy in the lives of the Filipino people by 2023 through our bayanihan spirit," he said in a public briefing. 

Negotiations with 7 manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines have been "successful," said Galvez, a former military general who is also the country's inoculation czar. 

"We will be able to purchase at least 148 million doses from 7 pharmaceutical companies. More than 100 million doses have been fully secured for production," he said. 
 
Galvez did not detail where the 100 million doses would come from. But he said the government and local firms on Thursday would sign a supply deal for 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from UK drug group AstraZeneca. 

The Philippines will also get 30 million vaccine jabs from the Serum Institute of India, and 25 million doses from China's Sinovac Biotech. 

With some 491,000 coronavirus infections, the Philippines has the second highest caseload in Southeast Asia, second to Indonesia. 

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