COVID-19 VACCINE ASSURED. National Task Force on Covid-19 (NTF) NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. (middle) said the government has been negotiating with various pharmaceutical companies including AstraZeneca, Novavax, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, and Gamaleya Institute, for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccine during the 1st Vaccine Cluster meeting held at PIA Auditorium in Quezon City on Wednesday (Jan. 6, 2021). Also in photo are Philippine Information Agency Director General Ramon Cualoping III (left), and National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 deputy chief implementer Vivencio Dizon (right). (MNS photo)

MANILA, Jan 11 (Mabuhay) — The Philippines has secured some 25 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese firm Sinovac, with the initial batch expected by February, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III announced Sunday.

According to Duque, the succeeding batches are expected to arrive until the end of 2021, to complement those from British firm AstraZeneca.

“We sealed the deal with Sinovac for 25 million with early 50,000 doses by February, 950,000 by March and 2 to 3 million in succeeding months ’til December with 25 million doses. This is in addition to AstraZeneca as confirmed by Sec. Galvez,” he said.

COVID-19 policy chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. last week said the Philippines targets to vaccinate some 50 to 70 million Filipinos from COVID-19 this year.

“We hope to close the deal with these companies this month,” he said, as other government officials earlier said the country would have already had the shipment this January if not for Health Secretary Francisco Duque III who dropped the ball and failed to submit the necessary documents.

In response, Duque earlier said that “there is no such this as dropping the ball” as he said negotiations are still ongoing.

The Philippines has already allocated P73.2 billion for the procurement of the vaccines, with P40 billion coming from multilateral agencies, P20 billion from domestic sources, and P13.2 billion from bilateral agreements.

Meanwhile, the private sector has committed to procuring as much as 6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, half of which will be donated to the Philippine government.

Aside from this, the Philippines over the weekend inked the term sheet to secure 30 million doses of the Covovax vaccine to be manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), which has partnered with Faberco Life Sciences Inc. as its Philippine partner. (MNS)

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