Philippines to shoulder payment for 5% of Covax's COVID-19 jabs
This file photo taken on April 5, 2019 shows a nurse preparing the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at the Rockland County Health Department in Haverstraw, Rockland County, New York.
AFP/Johannes Eisele, file

Philippines to shoulder payment for 5% of Covax's COVID-19 jabs

Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) - January 25, 2021 - 8:21pm

MANILA, Philippines — The health department on Monday said the country will now have to pay a part of the 20% of vaccines from the Covax facility with funding that it said is already secured.

Officials in a statement said the entire allocation was supposed to be provided for free, but government will now have to shoulder 5% of the cost.

"The budget for the 5% has been secured," the statement read. "Hence, even with these changes in financing, rest assured that there will be no delays in delivery of the vaccines."

Covax is a global initiative led by the World Health Organization to ensure equitable access among countries to vaccines for the coronavirus that has infected nearly a hundred million and killed over two million to date.

No reason was included in the latest pronouncement, but it was reported over the weekend that the country's share in the Covax had been reduced due to lack of funding.

"This is all for free," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said per The STAR. "But eventually, I think in December, they were saying that it seemed they can no longer achieve their committed 20% for each of the countries they made the commitment with."

Vergeire added that they had met with the Covax early this month, where they were informed that the facility would only be able to cover 15% of the population.

The jabs that would be provided for free are crucial to the administration's target of inoculating 50 to 70 million Filipinos in 2021 alone.

At a Senate inquiry on the vaccination program, a finance official told the chamber that the goal of 50 million could be met with Covax covering 20% or 22 million of the population.

Apart from it, government has sealed the deal for 30 million doses of Covavax, 25 million doses of the Chinese-made Sinovac and 2.6 million of AstraZeneca.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. last week said vaccines from the Covax could be in the country by February, and could include shots from Pfizer, which have reported 90% efficacy and had secured emergency use from local regulators.

It remains unclear as to the amount the country would now be paying for 5% of the Covax, with scant details given in the statement.

But for 2021, the administration secured some P72.5 billion in funding for vaccines purchase, which includes loans from multilateral sources such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: February 26, 2021 - 11:25am

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)

February 26, 2021 - 11:25am

Filipino soldiers may choose which COVID-19 vaccine brand they want to get inoculated with but they must pay if they opt out of using Sinovac, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson MGen. Edgard Arevalo says Friday.

The AFP aims to vaccinate all soldiers, with 304 medical services personnel, 72 vaccination teams and 47 vaccination sites ready.

"Pwede pong pumili ng ibang brand ng bakuna ang ating mga sundalo, sabihin lang po nila na gusto nila ng ibang brand... Subalit dahil nga po hindi naman 'yun ang laan para sa AFP na kailangang mabakunahan, kailangan po sila ay ang magbabayad ng brand ng bakuna na gustong maiturok sa kanila," Arevalo says at a press briefing.

February 25, 2021 - 12:05pm

The 600,000 donated doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive on Sunday, February 28, the Palace says.

February 24, 2021 - 8:51am

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca says its EU supply chains would only be able to deliver half of an expected supply of COVID-19 vaccines to the bloc in the second quarter — but that it would look to make up the shortfall from elsewhere.

A spokesman for the British drugs group tells AFP AstraZeneca was "working to increase productivity in its EU supply chain" and would use its "global capability in order to achieve delivery of 180 million doses to the EU in the second quarter". 

"Approximately half of the expected volume is due to come from the EU supply chain" while the remainder would come from its international supply network, he adds. —  AFP

February 23, 2021 - 9:52pm

Special envoy to China Mon Tulfo, who is also a columnist, says on ONE News, that he and other government officials were vaccinated with smuggled and unauthorized Sinopharm jabs.

Tulfo said he did not use his position as special envoy to get the Sinopharm doeses. "I just got hold of the vaccine from a friend who smuggled it into the country," he says on ONE News' "The Chiefs".

He says that other government officials also received the smuggled vaccine, "I just cant give their names," he says in Filipino.

He adds that others who received the smuggled vaccines were "Cabinet-level" officials and at least one senator.

February 22, 2021 - 4:28pm

The House of Representatives has passed the COVID-19 Vaccination Program bill on second reading.

A provision of the bill provides funding to cover expenses for people who have adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines. The House bill creates a P500-million indemnity fund for this. A previous verison of the bill did not specify the amount of funding. 

Since the bill has been certified urgent, the House may dispense with the "three-day rule" and pass it on third and final on the same day. 

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