Talks underway to make potential COVID-19 vaccine accessible to Filipinos- Vergeire

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 17 2020 02:04 PM

This handout picture taken on August 6, 2020 and provided by the Russian Direct Investment Fund shows the potential vaccine against the coronavirus disease, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. Russian Direct Investment Fund, Handout/AFP

MANILA— Talks are ongoing to make a potential COVID-19 vaccine more accessible and affordable for Filipinos, as the race for the drug against the highly-contagious disease continues. 

In a press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said government has been negotiating with partners and facilities that could subsidize part of the funds for a coronavirus vaccine. 

"Nakikipag-usap tayo sa iba’t ibang mekanismo, katulad nung sa COVAX facility kung saan mabibigyan tayo ng mas mababang presyo because we will be subsidized as one of the countries na eligible for this," Vergeire said. 

(We are in talks with different mechanisms, such as the COVAX facility which will give us a lower price because we will be subsidized as one of the countries eligible for this.) 

"Besides that, of course, we are talking with other partners through bilateral [channels] para mas mapababa ang presyo at maging accessible sa Pilipinas ang mga ganitong klaseng bakuna (we are talking with other partners through bilateral channels to lower the price and make these kinds of vaccines accessible in the Philippines)," Vergeire added. 

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The official noted that most potential COVID-19 vaccines being presented in the country require two doses per person. While some have marketed vaccines as low as $10 or about P500 per dose, the prices still vary, she said. 

The official earlier said that government would prioritize health care workers and the vulnerable sector in providing vaccines for COVID-19, citing international recommendations and a declaration by President Rodrigo Duterte.