20% of PH population to get COVID vaccine next year through COVAX

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 21 2020 09:26 PM

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Video courtesy of the Department of Health

MANILA — The Department of Health on Monday said an international organization seeking equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines has assured the Philippines enough doses for 20% of its population by next year.

However, they will not arrive in one batch or immediately.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they met with the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX) organizers on Friday.

“The organizers at GAVI (the Vaccine Alliance) were pretty confident that all the countries included in the COVAX facility would receive their allocation throughout next year,” Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.

The DOH had repeatedly mentioned that the Philippines can get around 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, enough for 20% of the country’s population, through the COVAX facility.

“But of course COVAX is explaining, you don’t get it all at the same time,” Vergeire said.

She pointed out that the priority sectors like health workers will be given shots first when COVAX supplies the country during the 2nd or 3rd quarter of next year.

Vergeire said the rest of the 20% will eventually be supplied before 2021 ends.

As for independent talks with vaccine developers, the health official said none has applied yet for emergency use authorization.

She said companies can apply even without a supply deal with the government.

“Even if the deal is not yet finalized, any manufacturer can already apply for an EUA with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as long as they can complete the documentary requirements,” she said.

The EUA is necessary to expedite the approval of the vaccine for distribution in the country.

So far, only AstraZeneca has a supply deal with the Philippines through the private sector.

Meanwhile, there are four other vaccine developers applying for clinical trials in the country.

As for the logistical aspects of the planned mass vaccination next year, the DOH assured the public that the government is already preparing the budget for syringes, injection devices and personal protective equipment needed.

She said the DOH also has enough syringes because of regular mass vaccination programs.


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