After India, gov’t to shop for vaccines in Russia

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AFTER India, the government hinted on sending emissaries to Russia to shop for COVID-19 vaccines to ensure that Filipinos will have equal opportunities to access these shots.

In a statement, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez hinted at a persistent government that is working double time to procure as many COVID-19 vaccines as possible if only to make sure that there are enough doses to meet its target of inoculating 50 to 70 million Filipinos.

“Rest assured that the Duterte administration has been relentless in acquiring these vaccines to ensure that the country will have a fair share of the doses,” said Galvez, who admitted having been to the Serum Institute of India to directly deal with the procurement of Covovax vaccine and guarantee both short- and long-term vaccine supplies.

He, however, said that another team would go to Russia to conduct further studies on the Sputnik V vaccine developed and produced by Gamaleya.

Responding to reports that the Philippines has borrowed more than P10 trillion for its vaccination program, Galvez said that the government has P82.5 billion for its national vaccination program, of which P62 billion has been sourced from development partners and the remaining funds are financed internally.

“We have secured enough funding from abroad right now as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank approved just this week separate loans to cover the entire P62-billion component that we plan to secure overseas,” in apparent reference to an earlier statement issued by the Department of Finance (DOF).

Interestingly, the DOF admitted that having the funds does not guarantee that the country will be able to get all the vaccine doses it needs now.

The Philippines began its COVID-19 vaccination program on March 1.

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