^
Philippines' COVAX share cut due to lack of funds
At a press briefing, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire noted that COVAX had initially committed to cover 20 percent of the country’s population with full subsidy of COVID-19 vaccines.
AFP/Joel Saget

Philippines' COVAX share cut due to lack of funds

Helen Flores, Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The free vaccine allocation of the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility for the Philippines and other country-beneficiaries has been reduced for lack of funding, the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday.

At a press briefing, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire noted that COVAX had initially committed to cover 20 percent of the country’s population with full subsidy of COVID-19 vaccines.

“This is all for free. But eventually, I think in December, they were saying that it seemed they can no longer achieve their committed 20 percent for each of the countries they made the commitment with,” she added.

But as this developed, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the Philippines has pledged $100,000 to the COVAX facility.

In slashing the vaccine allocation for the country-beneficiaries, COVAX – according to Vergeire – reasoned that they have not reached the funding requirement for such assistance.

She assured the Philippines will continue to receive the 20-percent vaccine allocation but only 15 percent of them will be free. The remaining five percent will have to be paid by the country.

She reported that in the first week of January, they had a meeting again with COVAX during which the latter informed them that it would likely be able to cover only 15 to 16 percent of the population, instead of 20 percent.

“The first doses to arrive would be about for three percent of the population or less. So it’s going to be in tranches,” she added.

Initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO), the COVAX Facility is a mechanism that guarantees “rapid, fair, equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines around the world.”

According to Vergeire, the Philippines will not spend anything for the COVAX vaccines since it is one of the countries entitled to receive full subsidy.

She said if the country is interested in buying vaccines through COVAX, it would have to spend for them.

“The price of the vaccines in COVAX is cheaper because it is negotiated around the globe. If we decide to buy, that is over and above the 20 percent that they will give to us,” she added.

Vergeire assured the public that the development would not derail the vaccination timeline, as there is already an allowance in the vaccine allocation earlier determined by the government. – Richmond Mercurio, Rainier Allan Ronda, Mary Grace Padin, Ding Cervantes, Robertzon Ramirez

COVID-19 VARIANT
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with