Price of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines to be disclosed â Palace
A health worker shows the Sinovac vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus at a community health centre in Lambaro, Indonesia's Aceh province on January 18, 2021.

Price of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines to be disclosed — Palace

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - January 18, 2021 - 7:52pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Monday vowed to disclose the price of COVID-19 vaccines purchased from Sinovac once a contract is signed as it continued to parry criticisms against its decision to buy shots from the Chinese drug maker. 

Some senators have urged the administration to reconsider its decision to buy 25 million doses of Sinovac vaccine, citing reports that the jabs developed by the Chinese firm are more expensive and less effective. Officials have claimed that the Sinovac vaccines are effective and that they were offered to the Philippines at a special price because of its close ties with China. Critics, however, are not buying the government's claim and have demanded the disclosure of the cost of the China-made COVID-19 jabs.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the price of the Sinovac vaccines cannot be revealed for now because a sale contract has yet to be signed. 

"What we signed is a term sheet which is an agreement to supply, and an agreement to supply which is a valid contract by itself and we cannot say yet how much," Roque said at a press briefing. 

"But don't worry, once it is delivered and once the contract is signed, we have the obligation to tell you how much, For now it's more or less P650 (per dose) but it won't exceed P700 (per dose)," he added. 

Data released by Sen. Sonny Angara showed that the price of Sinovac vaccine is P3,629 for two doses, more costly than those of Pfizer-BioNTech (P2,379), Gamaleya (P1,220), COVAX facility (P854), AstraZeneca (P610) and Novavax (P366). The data were submitted by the health department to the Senate finance committee during budget hearings, the senator said. Roque has disputed the data, claiming Sinovac is just "third from the most expensive out of the six brands." He has also denied that the Duterte administration is favoring Sinovac over other vaccine brands, saying it just happened that the Chinese-made jabs are the ones immediately available to the Philippines. A total of 50,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine are expected to be delivered next month. 

Roque said the government is required to be strict and transparent when it comes to vaccine procurement, noting that the purchase will go through multilateral arrangements with fund managers like the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. The Palace spokesman also reiterated that the vaccines are not yet available for commercial use because only emergency use applications (EUA) have been granted to them. 

"Almost all governments buy through centralized ang purchasing. Why? Because of limited supply. If you want to get supplies, you should place bulk orders, not by piece. That's why private individuals cannot buy. Why? Because it's for emergency use authorization only, not commercial distribution," Roque said. 

Roque: Vaccines not like detergent soaps

Roque also took a jab at comedian and television host Vice Ganda, who criticized his remark that Filipinos should not be choosy about the brand of vaccines. The comedian recently tweeted that if people are choosy about detergent soaps, the more they should be when it comes to vaccines. Roque explained that there are limited options for vaccines because of the limited supply. 

"Because of the limited supply of vaccines, we cannot choose one or two brands. You know, it is wrong to compare a vaccine with a laundry detergent. The supply (of vaccines) is not that many. We are competing for the 18 percent available supply," Roque said. 

"Second, it won't be use on clothes. That's why not one, not two but three groups of experts are studying whether a vaccine is safe and effective. If we don't trust the experts who tell us that we can use it and that will serve as the basis for the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to issue an EUA, who shall we trust? Perhaps not the comedians," he added. 

Roque also defended his remark that the critics of the government's plan to buy Sinovac vaccines have "colonial mentality." 

"Pasensiya na po kayo, ako po ay kilala bilang isang Spokesperson na diretsong magsalita; wala po akong pakialam ‘no basta ako katotohanan lamang (Pardon me but I am known as a spokesperson who is direct to the point and who does not care as long as I tell the truth)," he said. 

"The truth is, some of us, especially critics of the government, assess vaccines based on their country of origin... We should check whether they are safe and effective regardless of where they were manufactured."


As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: March 6, 2021 - 12:36pm

The national government has so far secured two official deals for COVID-19 vaccine supplies in the Philippines, one with Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac and another with the Serum Institute of India.

Watch this space for bite-sized developments on the vaccines in the Philippines. (Main image by Markus Spiske via Unsplash)

March 6, 2021 - 12:36pm

At least 38,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from the COVAX facility are arriving on Sunday, the Department of Health says.

March 4, 2021 - 7:23pm

The plane carrying AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX facility has landed at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

Photo: PCOO-Office of Global Media and Public Affairs

March 4, 2021 - 10:13am

At least 8,559 persons have received the first dose of Sinovac vaccine as of March 3, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

These were administered in 32 sites in Metro Manila.

The Cabinet official adds that 189,600 of the 600,000 donated Sinovac vaccines ahve already been delivered.

March 3, 2021 - 3:18pm

Contradicting Malacanang, vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. says he cannot confirm the arrival of initial shipments of the AstraZeneca vaccines from the Covax facility.

"I cannot confirm yet. Dalawang beses na kaming nakuryente diyan. Mabuti i-confirm 'pag may plane nang lumipad from Belgium," Galvez was quoted, as reported by ABS-CBN News.

March 3, 2021 - 2:30pm

An initial shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX facility are expected to arrive on Thrusday, March 4, the Palace says.

The shipment will have 487,200 and will arrive around 7:30 p.m., the Palace also says. This is down from the 527,600 doses earlier announced to arrive on March 1, and that did not, in fact, arrive.

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