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Government prepares plan to produce vaccines
With the pandemic not ending anytime soon and the country remaining at the mercy of limited vaccine supply globally, the government is considering the idea of attracting vaccine manufacturers to set up production in the country to sustain the vaccination drive.
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Government prepares plan to produce vaccines

Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) - April 8, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has given the go-signal to the economic team to find ways to encourage the private sector to manufacture vaccines in the country, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said yesterday.

With the pandemic not ending anytime soon and the country remaining at the mercy of limited vaccine supply globally, the government is considering the idea of attracting vaccine manufacturers to set up production in the country to sustain the vaccination drive.

“The President has already given instructions for the concerned agencies to encourage our private sector to go into vaccine manufacturing,” Avisado said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum yesterday.

“We also need to come up with our own initiative rather than just depending and relying on global supply,” he said.

Most of the shots that arrived in the country have so far been donations as the government has yet to receive the jabs it ordered.

“The virus is here to stay and therefore we must find ways to manufacture our own vaccines,” Avisado said.

Several members of the Cabinet, he said, met Tuesday night to discuss this initiative.

Present during the meeting were Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato De la Peña, Health Secretary Francisco Duque, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, FDA director Eric Domingo among others.

“We were all in agreement that the best thing to do is to encourage our private sector partners to go into this activity. They have a ready market and the government will buy all their vaccines,” said Avisado.

The country used to have a history of manufacturing inoculations for some diseases.

In the 1930’s, the Philippines had a vaccine and serum laboratory in Alabang that used to manufacture vaccines for tetanus, tuberculosis and anti-snake venom.

This was later on sold and repurposed into a mall in the latter part of the century.

Back in 1909, the former Bureau of Science offered vaccines for diseases like diptheria, cholera, typhoid and dysentery.

The Department of Finance (DOF) earlier said the government had secured a budget of P82.5 billion for the procurement of vaccines as well as logistics requirements.

This comprises P58.4 billion ($1.2 billion) from loans obtained from multilateral banks Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (WB) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); P2.5 billion allocation for the Department of Health under the 2021 national budget; P10 billion allocated for COVID-19 vaccine financing under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act and the P11.6 billion sourced from savings and other official development assistance.

COVID-19 VACCINE
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