Philippines, private sector intend to buy 2.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZenica as deal signed
The Philippine government with the private sector pushed on Friday with the signing of a tripartite agreement with AstraZenica of the United Kingdom for at least 2.6 million doses of vaccine against coronavirus disease to be supplied next year.
This was despite reported "mistake" during the clinical trials of AstraZenica's potential COVID-19 vaccine.
Some 25 executives from various business groups, such as Ramon Ang of San Miguel Corp., Enrique Razon of the International Container Terminal Service, Inc., Lance Gokongwei of Robinsons Retail Holding, Inc., Jaime Augusto Zobel of Ayala Corp., and Teresita Sy-Coson of BDO Foundation were among those who participated in the virtual signing ceremony.
"We are close to 2.6 (million doses), almost 3 million, if not stopped the order, it could have been 3 million," said Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion during the signing of the private sector donation of the vaccine to the government.
He said AstraZenica has a "zero profit for the year 2021" as the amount per dose is about 5 dollars or 10 dollars for two doses compared to other pharmaceutical companies developing the vaccines, which could cost to around 20 dollars for two doses.
He expressed hope that the vaccines, which will help "1.5 million plus Filipino people" from AstraZenica, will arrive in May or June next year.
Concepcion said half of the 2.6 million doses will be used by the government to medical frontliners, police, soldiers, and other vulnerable sectors, while the other half will remain with the private sector for their low-level and poorest of the poor employees.
National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. hailed the private sector, the British government, and AstraZenica for helping the Philippine government.
"The commitment we are making here today is a result of the government's aggressive effort to provide all Filipinos with access to a safe, effective, and affordable vaccine," he said.
Galvez said the government is negotiating with AstraZenica for possible purchase of another million doses of vaccine.
He reiterated that strict protocols will be implemented in the evaluation and selection of COVID-19 vaccine.
"The government's main priority is to ensure that this will be safe and effective for the Filipino people and we have confidence in the vaccine being developed by AstraZenica," he said.
"The guaranteed 2.6 million vaccine doses from AstraZenica will be a game changer in our quest to recover and heal together. It will give our people the confidence that we now finally have the chance to beat the virus and bring back the lives that we've lost," Galvez added.
Asked on the concern regarding the efficacy of AstraZenica's vaccine, Concepcion said, "there's a risk, but the potential solution to the economy definitely outweighs the risk."
The Department of Health has been seeking an explanation from AstraZenica following reports of errors during the trials of its potential COVID-19 vaccine. Celerina Monte/DMS