Philippines to buy 20 million more Pfizer vaccines

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star
Philippines to buy 20 million more Pfizer vaccines
An illustration picture shows vials with Covid-19 Vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German partner BioNTech, on November 17, 2020.

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has signed an amended supply agreement with Pfizer-BioNTech for the purchase of 20 million more vaccine doses, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said yesterday.

In a press briefing, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the latest procurement is intended for booster shots and for the pediatric population.

“With these additional doses, we can ensure the sustainability of our National Vaccination Program, and hit the vaccination targets we have set not only for this year, but for 2022 as well,” he said.

With the latest agreement, the total number of vaccine doses ordered by the government from Pfizer for 2021 and 2022 is now at 60 million.

As of Sunday, the Philippines has received more than 140 million doses from various manufacturers since February last year. Out of these, 92 were government-procured while the rest were under tripartite agreements by local government units and the private sector.

While this was the case, only over 81 million doses have been administered nationwide—over 45 million of which were first dose shots while over 35 million were second doses. This means only about 46 percent of the country’s target population have been fully vaccinated.

Galvez, also the NTF policy chief implementer, said the recent procurement would be financed through the Philippines COVID-19 Emergency Response Project, an additional financing loan that the government secured from the World Bank in March 2021.

Edilberto Reyes, Pfizer Philippines interim country manager, said the latest 20 million Pfizer doses would be delivered to the country starting January 2022 based on a monthly schedule agreed upon by both parties.

Galvez said the continuous stockpiling of vaccines would help the government reach its goals under its synchronized vaccination matrix–four of which are eyed to be finished by the third quarter of next year.

He noted that the first milestone would be to fully vaccinate 54 million Filipinos before the year ends, including at least 80 percent of the pediatric population aged 12 to 17.

The rest is intended to reach 90 million fully vaccinated Filipinos and to complete the primary and booster vaccination of the rest of the population by the end of the third quarter of 2022.

Vaccine donations

Meanwhile, the country is getting another boost in its vaccination efforts against COVID-19 as the United Kingdom, Poland and South Korea donated more than 2.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the Philippine government.

Last Saturday, the 1,746,160 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines donated by the British government to the Philippines arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

The supply, shipped via Emirates Air from the COVAX Facility, was welcomed by National Task Force against COVID-19 representatives Teodoro Herbosa and Ma. Paz Corrales, British embassy deputy head of mission Alastair Walton Totty and Raymond Villaroman of AstraZeneca.

A shipment of 547,100 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines – donated by the government of Poland to the Philippine government – also arrived yesterday afternoon at the NAIA Terminal 3.

The South Korean government is also sending on Tuesday the 539,430 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine it donated to the Philippines. – Rudy Santos

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