MANILA — With rich countries cornering around four-fifths of the projected supply of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, the Philippines is "trying hard" to secure its own share from its "diplomatic friends," an official leading the country’s pandemic response said Wednesday.
Wealthy nations have snapped up "more than 80 percent" of the potential vaccines, while the World Health Organization and COVID-19 global vaccine alliance, known as COVAX, got 2 percent. This leaves 18 percent of the supply up for grabs, said Secretary Carlito Galvez, chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19.
"And there really is an acute sources or supply of vaccine. With that, nakikita nating realistic scenario ay makapag-roll out tayo ng vaccine is during the middle of the second quarter," said Galvez, who is also the country’s vaccine czar.
(We see the realistic scenario that we will roll out the vaccine during the middle of the second quarter.)
"But we are trying hard na makakuha po tayo ng vaccine mule sa mga diplomatic friends natin tulad ng China, Australia and other countries like US, na makakuha po tayo ng vaccine during the first quarter," he said in a public briefing.
(But we are trying hard to get the vaccine from our diplomatic friends like China, Australia and other countries like the US during the first quarter of 2021.)
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Among the vaccine makers that the Philippines is negotiating with are China's Sinovac and SinoPharm, which might make their products available in the first quarter of next year, said Galvez.
Sinovac's after-sale service includes the delivery, storage and distribution of the virus, he said.
The Philippines is also talking with 4 US drug groups. These include Pfizer which has signed a non-disclosure agreement that covers the advance payment for the vaccine, Galvez said.
Last week, local private firms signed a deal to buy 2.6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate of UK's AstraZeneca, half of these will be given to the government and the rest to their own company employees.
The government is negotiating with AstraZeneca for 1 more million doses, Galvez earlier said.