PH gov't to pay for a fourth of COVAX vaccine supplies


Posted at Jan 25 2021 07:36 PM

PH gov't to pay for a fourth of COVAX vaccine supplies 1
Alcides Tello, nurse at the elderly home Ballesol, prepares an injection with a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, in Madrid, Spain Jan. 25, 2021. Susana Vera, Reuters

MANILA — The Philippine government will pay for 25 percent of its vaccine allocations from the COVAX Facility, instead of availing all for free, it said Monday, citing latest developments.

Authorities earlier announced that the Philippines would get for free 40 million vaccine shots from the global initiative that aims to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 jabs. The supply is good for 20 percent of the country's population. 

"Previously, this entire 20% was to be provided to us for free. Based on latest developments, only 15% will be free, and the remaining 5% will be paid by the country," the government's vaccine cluster said in a statement.

There was no reason cited or an elaboration on what the developments were.

“The budget for the 5% has been secured. Hence, even with these changes in financing, rest assured that there will be no delays in delivery of the vaccines,” the statement added, without specifying the amount.

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Jabs from COVAX will include those developed by US-based Pfizer and Johnson&Johnson, British drugs group AstraZeneca, and Covovax from the Serum Institute of India, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez earlier said. 

The first vaccine batch will arrive in the country in February, he said last week. 

"Sa ngayon, wala pa po tayong definite kung ano pong vaccine ang mauunang i-deploy, but most likely iyong Pfizer."
(For now, we have no definite info on which vaccine will arrive first, but it will most likely be Pfizer.)

"Tingi-tingi po ang dating n’yan, mga tig-100,000 a month, thereabouts," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said of the COVAX vaccines in a separate press briefing.

(The arrival will be in batches of about 100,000 each a month, thereabouts.)

The government aims to begin immunizations next month, hoping to inoculate 70 million people, or two-thirds of the population, this year.

The country has logged 514,996 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Monday, including 29,282 active infections, 10,292 fatalities, and 475,422 recoveries.