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MALACANANG said it used a whopping one billion US dollars so that the Philippine government can procure 89 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the country.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, however, admitted that the government has only been able to pay 40 percent of the corresponding total cost and only 20 percent of what the government bought has been delivered, to date.

Roque said that US$400 million that was used to pay the vaccine supply were sourced from the country’s 2021 national budget and multilateral loans from various lending institutions.

Our government has inked contracts with various vaccine manufacturers and we have so far procured 89 million doses of vaccines,” Roque said in a televised briefing, citing data from the Department of Finance.

These account for approximately US$1 billion. So far, the government has paid US$400 million,” Roque added.

Of the 89 million doses procured, 20.77 million doses have arrived in the country — the bulk of which came from China. Authorities have so far administered some 13 million doses to priority groups.

Some 3.5 million individuals have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, while 9.6 million people have been waiting for their second shots to attain full protection against the disease.

Around 96 percent of about 1.6 million health workers, the top priority in the country’s immunization drive, have received at least one vaccine dose, while roughly 31 percent of 8 million target senior citizens, the second priority group, have received at least one COVID-19 shot.

The government has been in talks with the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund and other organizations to build a vaccine depot for the Bangsamoro region, which has among the lowest immunization rates.

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