Philippine government, private firms secure 17M more doses of AstraZeneca vaccine

15-Jan-2021 Intellasia | PhilStar | 7:41 AM Print This Post

The Philippine government and private firms signed another deal with AstraZeneca Thursday for 17 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine as officials scramble to lock in supplies to inoculate at least 50 million Filipinos this year.

Around 300 companies and 39 local government units pitched in for the procurement of additional COVID-19 jabs from the British-Swedish drugmaker, which are expected to arrive in the country this year, Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said.

This is the second deal that the government and private firms signed with AstraZeneca. In November last year, the government inked an agreement with the pharmaceutical firm for 2.6 million doses, which was made possible through the donations of some private companies.

“We have no doubt this partnership will enable us to save more than 8 million lives from the menace of the virus,” said Carlito Galvez Jr., the former military general in charge of the government’s vaccine procurement effort.

The vaccine developed by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm in conjunction with Oxford University is found to be 70 percent effective on average, well below the 95 percent reported for the COVID-19 jabs from US firms Pfiser/BioNTech and Moderna.

But AstraZeneca shots only need to be stored at around 2°C, which is the standard temperature that is within the existing cold chain system in the country. The government is eyeing to distribute AstraZeneca vaccines in far-flung areas along with those that do not require sub-arctic temperatures for storage.

Local regulators are still reviewing the application of AstraZeneca for the emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine, which is needed before rollout.

Aside from AstraZeneca, the government also secured 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine developed by US-based Novavax and Serum Institute of India, and 25 million shots from China’s Sinovac.

The Philippines aims to vaccinate 50 to 70 million Filipinos against COVID-19 in 2021 alone, but it depends on the global supply, which had been mostly procured by wealthy nations.

With nearly 493,000 COVID-19 cases, the Philippines has the second worst COVID-19 outbreak in Southeast Asia.


Category: Philippines

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