AstraZeneca required firms to donate half of COVID-19 jabs to gov't: official

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 23 2021 08:11 PM | Updated as of Mar 23 2021 08:33 PM

AstraZeneca required firms to donate half of COVID-19 jabs to gov't: official 1
Community frontliners and barangay health workers receive COVID-19 shots at the Placido Del Mundo Elementary School, Quirino Highway, Barangay Talipapa, Quezon City, March 23, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Only Britain's COVID-19 vaccine maker AstraZeneca required Philippine firms to donate to the government half of the doses they would procure, an official leading the inoculation strategy said on Tuesday. 

AstraZeneca's corporate principles include "equitable" and "non-privileged" access to its vaccine, said Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19. 

"Meaning, iyong parang ang purpose ng private sector ay para ma-balance na iyong 50% na bibilhin ng private sector, ibibigay po iyan sa mga marginalized targeted population ng public sector," said Galvez, who is also the country's vaccine czar. 

"Sila po ang nag-demand, hindi po ang national government," he said in a press briefing. 

(This means that the purpose of the private sector is to balance, that 50 percent of what it buys will be given to the targeted population of the public sector. They demanded that, not the government.)

Galvez said supply agreements for the COVID-19 vaccines of Moderna, Novavax and Sinovac do not have this provision. 

"Only AstraZeneca demanded the 50 percent," he said. 

With the help of private firms and local officials, the Philippines has secured supply deals for 17 million AstraZeneca jabs. 

The country so far has received 1,125,600 COVID-19 shots, including 600,000 China-donated shots from Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech, and 525,600 jabs of Britain's AstraZeneca vaccine secured with the help of the COVAX Facility. 

Authorities expect to receive 2.3 million more vaccine doses this March, said Galvez. 

These include 400,000 Sinovac shots to be delivered on Wednesday, 979,200 COVAX jabs that may arrive between March 22 and 26, and another 1 million Sinovac doses on March 29, he added. 

Battling a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Philippines this year aims to vaccinate 70 million people or two-thirds of its population against the respiratory disease.

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