Razon leads efforts to bring in Moderna vaccine

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star
Razon leads efforts to bring in Moderna vaccine
This file photo taken on November 18, 2020 shows a syringe and a bottle reading "Vaccine Covid-19" next to the Moderna biotech company logo.
Joel Saget / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — Ports tycoon Enrique Razon is spearheading efforts to bring in Moderna’s vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019, consolidating orders from his fellow tycoons, business organizations and other interested parties.

Razon, chairman of International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) and casino operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp., has been in talks with United States-based Moderna to bring in its mRNA-1273 vaccine.

“The Philippines has an allocation of 20 million doses,” said a source in Razon’s circle.

The vaccine was developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and Moderna.

Each dose could cost around $26 (about P1,250) and the vaccines are expected to be delivered to the Philippines from May to August, the source said.

Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez, in a letter to local government officials last Saturday, said the procurement and negotiation process is already underway to get the best price for the country.

“The Philippine Embassy in Washington, Razon and the Inter-Agency Task Force (for the Management of) Emerging Infectious Diseases are working together to consolidate the demand in order to avail of the best possible rate for the entire country,” Romualdez said in his letter.

The letter was addressed to Presbiterio Velasco Jr., national president of the League of Provinces in the Philippines; Edgardo Labella, national chairman of the League of Cities; and Chavit Singson, national president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines.

Romualdez said the Moderna vaccine is the second COVID-19 vaccine to receive emergency use authorization in the US.

He said it does not need to be stored in ultra-low temperature freezers and remains stable at -20 degrees Celsius for up to six months; refrigerated conditions, up to 30 days; and at room temperature for up to 12 hours.

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