MANILA — The Philippines will gets its first batch of around 1 million COVID-19 vaccine shots next month, an official leading the country's inoculation drive said on Wednesday.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. said he was negotiating with pharmaceutical firms to get 200,000 to 500,000 doses from UK's AstraZeneca for health workers, 500,000 jabs from Chinese firm Sinovac, and an unspecified number of shots from US-based Pfizer.
“More or less, ang ano po natin, magkakaroon po tayo ng (we will have an) early rollout this February. More or less, more than 1 million doses,” Galvez said in a briefing.
Several other countries, including immediate neighbors of the Philippines, have already started their respective vaccination programs.
The Philippine government aims to vaccinate up 70 million people against the new coronavirus this year to achieve herd immunity.
It is working to lock in 148 million doses from 7 vaccine makers, on top of 40 million shots that will come from the Covax Facility, a global initiative that aims to ensure equitable access to the vaccines, said Galvez.
“We hope to seal deals within this month or early February,” he said.
The government has yet to disclose the exact prices of the jabs. Authorities will bare the full details of the deals "in due time," Galvez said.
“We guarantee that there will be an utmost transparency and accountability in all our negotiations,” he added.
The Philippines has logged 516,166 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Tuesday, including 30,357 active infections, 10,386 deaths, and 475,423 recoveries.
The cases include 17 that were found to be of the new, more transmissible variant first detected late last year in the United Kingdom.