Philippines may sign deal with AstraZeneca for 30M doses of COVID vaccine next week

Philippines may sign deal with AstraZeneca for 30M doses of COVID vaccine next week
In this file photo taken on July 21, 2020 a general view is pictured of the offices of British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca PLC in Macclesfield, Cheshire.
Paul Ellis / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines may ink a deal with British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca for 30 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine by next week, the country’s vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Monday.

Galvez told President Rodrigo Duterte during the Cabinet’s regular briefing with him on the coronavirus pandemic that they are just waiting for regulators in the United Kingdom to approve AstraZeneca’s vaccine before they ink the deal.

“Maybe this coming week, either December 28 or 29, we’re just waiting for the Ministry of Health Regulatory [Authority] of the UK and we can sign the contract,” Galvez said in Filipino.

Of the 30 million doses of the vaccine which requires two shots to be 70% effective on average, Galvez said 20 million doses would go to the national government, while 10 million would be given to local governments and the private sector.

If it pushes through, this would be the Philippines’ second supply deal for a coronavirus vaccine, following its first agreement also with AstraZeneca for 2.6 million doses of its vaccine, which was made possible through the donations of some 30 private companies.

The UK government has asked its regulator to review AstraZeneca’s shot for emergency use approval. It is expected to get the green light on December 28 or 29, according to The Daily Telegraph, citing senior government sources.

Galvez also said that American vaccine developer Novavax has committed to providing the country with 30 million doses of its coronavirus shot, which is still in late stage clinical trials.

The Philippines aims to buy 25 million doses of China’s Sinovac Biotech coronavirus vaccine, while it is eyeing to secure around four to 25 million doses of vaccines from Moderna Therapeutics and Arcturus Therapeutics.

The country, which has the second-worst coronavirus outbreak in the Southeast Asian region following Indonesia, is targeting to vaccinate 24 million people against the virus that causes COVID-19 by next year. — Xave Gregorio




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