Philippines reaches supply deal with Moderna for 13 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
Philippines reaches supply deal with Moderna for 13 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine
In this file photo taken on August 13, 2020 Biotechnology company Moderna protocol files for COVID-19 vaccinations are kept at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida.
AFP / Chandan Khanna

MANILA, Philippines — US-based manufacturer Moderna will supply some 13 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines, officials announced under a deal reached over the weekend.

Manila's embassy in Washington said the agreement was made final from a meeting on Saturday, with Moderna adding to the options for jabs in a country that began its vaccination program just this month.

Moderna in a March 6 release said deliveries could begin by the middle of the year and vowed to work with local regulators to secure emergency use approval for its vaccine.

So far, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sinovac had been cleared for EUA by the Food and Drug Administration, with inoculations already underway with the Chinese-made jabs as well as of the British-Swedish developer.

"We appreciate the confidence in Moderna, and our mRNA platform demonstrated by the government of the Philippines," said Moderna's CEO Stéphane Bancel. "We remain committed to making our vaccine available on every continent to help end this global pandemic.”

Taken in two doses, Moderna has reported a 94% efficacy rate for its candidate vaccine. It was approved for emergency use by US regulators in late 2020 and was the jab that America's top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci received in December of last year.

Apart from the agreed 13 million doses, officials said a separate deal for another 7 million is also anticipated, bringing the total allocation to 20 million as said by Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez Saturday.

The development marks a crucial step in the country's vaccination efforts and in turn, on government's bid to inoculate 50 to 70 million this year alone.

A supply deal, however, is still different from a purchase agreement. Last month, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said government has signed supply deals with five manufacturers that he did not name.

But nothing on procurement has been made final to date, and the jabs that the Philippines have received so far are donations such as Beijing's Sinovac and the Astrazeneca doses from the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility.






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