Philippines signs for 40 million vaccine doses with Pfizer
The Philippines signed its biggest vaccine supply agreement of 40 million doses with US manufacturer Pfizer-BioNTech, National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. announced on Sunday.
“We are very happy to report that the government and the management of Pfizer have finally concluded our negotiations. (Health) Secretary (Francisco) Duque and I signed yesterday (Saturday) the supply agreement for the biggest and most decisive deal we had for 2021,” Galvez said.
“I would like to thank my colleagues from the Philippine vaccine negotiating team from the Department of Finance and our multilateral partner for tirelessly working to secure these much-needed shots that will benefit 20 million Filipinos," he added.
Galvez said the deliveries of 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will begin “after eight weeks starting August” and the shipments will be delivered in bulk.
“The vaccine demand has begun to ease up for many big and rich countries, as most of them have already acquired more than enough vaccines for their population and have vaccinated many of their citizens," Galvez said.
"This has allowed the manufacturer to commit to us that deliveries, though still to be made in tranches, will be in bulk,” he said.
The procurement of the 40 million vaccine doses will be financed through a multilateral arrangement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Galvez explained that the loan funds from multilateral partners such as the ADB follows a direct disbursement scheme wherein payments are paid directly by the fund manager to the vaccine manufacturer.
“Through this scheme, the Filipino people can be assured that our transactions on vaccine procurement will be transparent, as the funds will not pass through the hands of any government official or agency,” he said.
With the latest supply agreement, the Philippines has now secured the delivery of 113 million doses from five manufacturers namely, Sinovac with 26 million doses, Sputnik V with 10 million doses, Moderna with 20 million doses, Astrazeneca with 17 million doses, and Pfizer with 40 million doses.
The COVAX facility has also committed to deliver a total of 44 million doses to the country this year, bringing to 157 million doses the total number of doses secured by the Philippines.
Meanwhile, around 16 million doses from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson are still under negotiation.
“The vaccines from Pfizer will significantly boost our national immunization program and will enable us to realize our goal of achieving herd immunity by year end. This is another positive development that will give a happy and better Christmas for all Filipinos,” said Galvez.
He reiterated that preparedness on the part of local government units (LGUs) is “imperative” with the confirmed procured supply from Pfizer as it has storage temperature requirements of -80 to -60 degree centigrade.
Galvez said the government will deploy the procured Pfizer doses to all provinces and regions across the country through 'hubs and spokes' throughput.
He said the scheduled delivery of Pfizer, as well as, Moderna will coincide with the opening of the national immunization program to the general population including those under the 12-15 age bracket.
Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, allowing it to be used for ages 12 to 15.
However, the NTF clarified that the adult population and the vulnerable sector will still be given priority in the vaccination program.
Galvez said the vaccination of 12 to 15 year-olds may be conducted in the later part of the year, as the country increases its vaccine inventory and completes the inoculation of the priority sectors.
As of June 18, a total of 8,050,711 jabs have been administered nationwide. Ella Dionisio/DMS