Philippines to shoulder payment for 5pct of Covax’s COVID-19 jabs

27-Jan-2021 Intellasia | PhilStar | 7:22 AM Print This Post

The health department on Monday said the country will now have to pay a part of the 20 percent 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 percent of the cost.

“The budget for the 5 percent 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 percent 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 percent 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 programme, a finance official told the chamber that the goal of 50 million could be met with Covax covering 20 percent 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 Pfiser, which have reported 90 percent efficacy and had secured emergency use from local regulators.

It remains unclear as to the amount the country would now be paying for 5 percent 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.


Category: Philippines

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