Philippines, Moderna reach 13 million vaccine doses supply deal

Reuters

Posted at Mar 07 2021 07:23 AM | Updated as of Mar 07 2021 03:38 PM

An employee shows the Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at Northwell Health's Long Island Jewish Valley Stream hospital in New York, US, on December 21, 2020. Eduardo Munoz, Reuters/File

(UPDATE) Moderna Inc said on Saturday it has agreed to supply the Philippines government 13 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, with deliveries set to begin in mid-2021.

The company will work with regulators to pursue necessary approvals prior to the distribution, it said in a press release.

Moderna said it expected to reach a separate deal with the Philippines government and private sector to supply an additional 7 million doses.

In a press conference on Sunday, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez confirmed Moderna's agreement with the Philippine government.

"'Yong Moderna, malapit na po. Baka Tuesday, ma-sign na namin 'yong tripartite agreement... Kailangan mayroong third party provider," Galvez said in a speech in Santa Rosa, Laguna.

Sinovac, AstraZeneca

Galvez also said the country would receive an additional 1.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Chinese firm Sinovac, which are expected to arrive on March 21.

Of the doses, 1 million were purchased by the government while 400,000 are additional donations from the Chinese government, Galvez said.

Last week, 600,000 donated doses of Sinovac's CoronaVac arrived in the Philippines, allowing the government to start its nationwide COVID1-19 vaccination program.

Of the 600,000 doses, 331,000 have so far been distributed to different parts of the country.

"More than 100 hospitals na ang nag-rollout na, and then nakita natin na ang directive, kailangan ‘yung first dose, maubos within 7 days. Sa Metro Manila, ‘yung first dose, tapos na po," Galvez said.

The official is also scheduled to go to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Sunday evening for the arrival of additional 38,400 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines.

"Mayroon pa po tayong parating na AstraZeneca na 4.5 million until May... Every month, meron po tayong darating na 1.5 na million [doses]," he said.

(Some 4.5 million doses from AstraZeneca will be arriving through May... Every month, 1.5 million will arrive.)

An initial batch of 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the World Health Organization's COVAX Facility arrived in the country last Thursday.

The government is eyeing to have all health workers inoculated against COVID-19 first.

Galvez said the government is planning to have senior citizens and other vulnerable individuals vaccinated against the respiratory illness by April or May.

In January, the Philippines' Food and Drug Administration approved the COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE for emergency use.

The agency also granted EUA to to the products of AstraZeneca and Sinovac. The Philippines launched last week its COVID-19 inoculation program using these two vaccines.

The country's total coronavirus infections reached 591,138 on Saturday, of which, 43,323 are active cases. The first confirmed case was reported on Jan. 30 last year in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged.

- With a report from Michael Delizo, ABS-CBN News

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