MANILA - The bulk of the supply of the country's COVID-19 vaccines will be arriving by the third and the fourth quarters of 2021, the country's "vaccine czar" said Wednesday.
Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the country is expecting around 5 million vaccine doses in the first quarter of the year, with another 24 million doses expected to arrive by the second quarter of 2021.
"Kaya po talagang tayo po ay nagkakaroon ng negotiation with the British government, and also with China, and also with India, and also with Russia, na kung pwede po na madagdagan itong first quarter na ano (supply) po natin," he said during the Cabinet's weekly meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte.
(This is why we are negotiating with the British government, with China, India and also Russia, if we can have additional vaccine supply for the first quarter.)
Galvez also said the bulk of the vaccines procured by the government, as well as those from the COVAX Facility, will start arriving by the third quarter to the fourth quarter of the year.
"Kaya ang ongoing negotiations po natin sa ibang vaccine, ay kailangan po na inaano po namin, kung pwede silang magkaroon ng earlier delivery," he said, noting that the government is willing to pay more for earlier delivery
(In our ongoing negotiations for some of the other vaccines, we are asking them if they can deliver earlier.)
"We are expecting to receive 161 million doses by the end of 2021," Galvez added.
Meanwhile, the Philippine and Chinese governments are finalizing the documentary requirements for the transport of 600,000 doses of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine.
Galvez said they are expecting the vaccines to arrive within the month. He also said he and other local government officials are willing to be vaccinated in public to boost confidence in the China-made vaccine.
The Philippines is negotiating supply agreements with seven manufacturers for 148 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, so it can inoculate 70 million adults, or two-thirds of its more than 108 million population.
Vaccine manufacturers want protection from future product liability claims before they deliver the shots, authorities have said.
As of Wednesday, the Philippines has a total of 566,420 COVID-19 cases, with 12,129 deaths, 523,321 recoveries and 30,970 active cases.