Philippines eyes 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from J&J

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 26 2021 05:57 PM | Updated as of Jan 26 2021 06:44 PM

Philippines eyes 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from J&J 1
Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Johnson & Johnson logo in this illustration taken Oct. 31, 2020. Dado Ruvic, Reuters/File

MANILA — The Philippines is negotiating for 10 million jabs against the novel coronavirus from Johnson & Johnson, an official leading the inoculation drive said on Tuesday, as the country raced to secure vaccine doses.

The J&J vaccine requires a single shot, making the logistics of its distribution "uncomplicated," said Carlito Galvez, Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19. 

Washington may authorize the US-developed vaccine for emergency use in "2 weeks or 3 weeks from now", and supply may arrive in the Philippines in the third quarter of this year, said Galvez, who is also the Philippines' vaccine czar.

"Sumulat po ako sa management na taasan pa ang quota natin to 10 million," he said in a briefing. 

(I wrote to the management to increase our quota to million doses.)

The J&J vaccine is in late-stage trials as a single dose, in contrast to 2-shot vaccines from Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc, which were also developed in the US.

The Philippines hopes to vaccinate up to 70 million people this year, starting February.

The country's first vaccine doses will likely come from Pfizer, UK's AstraZeneca, or Chinese firm Sinovac, Galvez said. 

So far, the Philippines has secured 30 million shots from the Serum Institute of India, 25 million from Sinovac, 20 million from Moderna, 17 million from AstraZeneca, and 40 million from the Covax Facility.

The Philippines' Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authority only for Pfizer's vaccine candidate, as of Tuesday.

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