THE government won’t take a measly 117,000 supply sitting down as a top Malacañang official hinted on requesting 900,000 more doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX facility.
Vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez said that aside from the 117,000 doses that will arrive this February, the government would be sending a letter before February 14 to have the additional supply of free vaccines.
“Gumagawa kami ng sulat dahil nakasaad po sa COVAX arrangement natin na if we can have a submission for additional more than 900,000 to make it 1 million ‘yung ating vaccine sa Pfizer,” Galvez was quoted as saying at the Laging Handa press briefing.
“Gagawin po namin ‘yun,” he added.
Out of the 72 countries who applied, the Philippines is among the 18 counties that the COVAX facility has chosen as recipients of the free COVID-19 vaccines, according to Galvez.
As the COVAX facility commits to provide vaccines to 20 percent of the country’s population, 15 percent of the supply will be free while the remaining 5 percent will be paid for by the government.
Aside from the supply under the COVAX facility, Galvez said the Philippines is still negotiating with Pfizer for the possible procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.
The country will receive 40 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX facility. By the first quarter, at least 5.6 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines will be delivered to the country.
Galvez said the Philippines will receive 117,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as well as 5.5 million to 9.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab in mid- to late February.
The first batch of vaccines is dedicated for the personnel of COVID-19 referral hospitals, such as the Philippine General Hospital in Manila, Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium Tala Hospital, as well as the East Avenue Medical Center.
Since the first batch of vaccines may come from Pfizer that requires an ultra low temperature cold storage, Galvez noted that these will be initially distributed to areas in Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao where such facilities are available.