Philippines eyes buying Moderna's coronavirus booster shot
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.
AFP/Joel Saget

Philippines eyes buying Moderna's coronavirus booster shot

Xave Gregorio (Philstar.com) - April 21, 2021 - 11:24am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is eyeing to buy Moderna’s coronavirus booster shot, which is still in early stage trials.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. told House lawmakers on Wednesday that the government may opt to buy the booster shots, which are expected to be available in the United States by fall, instead of the five million doses on top of the 20 million it already secured.

“Ang balak ho namin, ‘yong five million [doses,] instead na ‘yong bibilhin namin ‘yong vaccine, we might buy the booster already,” Galvez said.

(We plan that instead of procuring the five million vaccine doses, we might buy the booster already.)

Galvez said that Moderna’s booster can be used alongside any other coronavirus vaccine.

Israel, the leading country in terms of COVID-19 vaccinations, has struck a new COVID-19 vaccine supply deal with Moderna for 2022, where it can buy doses of the US biotech company’s vaccine candidates for specific coronavirus variants.

Among these variant-specific vaccine candidates specifically targets the B.1.351 coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa and a booster candidate which combines two vaccines in a single shot.

Data from the Department of Health showed that as of April 20, 1,353,107 Filipinos have been vaccinated for COVID-19, with 1,562,563 doses administered since the inoculation drive began on March 1.

While Galvez admitted that vaccinations are off to a slow start, he said the government aims to ramp up inoculations to 120,000 doses per day in the so-called NCR+ bubble by June as long as there are 3.3 million doses available each month.

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