MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines is in the final stages of negotiations for the procurement of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, the country's ambassador to the United States has said.
In a statement posted Wednesday on the Facebook page of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, Ambassador Jose Manuel "Babe" Romualdez said the Philippines would be able to secure a "minimum" of 10 million vaccine doses from the firm.
This will be delivered by the middle of 2021, he said.
The agreement reportedly has the "option to purchase an additional 10 million doses," according to the ambassador.
Romualdez thanked International Container Terminal Services Inc.'s (ICTSI) Enrique Razon for offering to ship the vaccines for free from Spain.
"I welcome the pledge of the private sector led by ICTSI... in shipping and distributing the vaccines from the manufacturing facility in Spain to the Philippines at no cost to the Philippine government," he said.
Moderna's vaccine was 94 percent effective in preventing disease in late-stage clinical trials, and it has already been given regulatory approval for use in the United States, Britain, Canada, the European Union, and Israel.
Side effects, including fever, headache and fatigue, were unpleasant but not dangerous, the US Food and Drug Administration has found.
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.
The Philippines as of Wednesday has 492,700 total COVID-19 cases, of which 458,523 are recoveries while 9,699 are deaths.