Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Tuesday the government has purchased 10 million more doses of China-made Sinovac jabs as part of the intensified rollout of the national Covid-19 vaccination program.
“To ensure a steady supply, our negotiating team signed the purchase order for an additional 10 million doses of Sinovac because the first batch of 26 million has already been utilized,” Galvez said, adding the government got the latest procurement at a lower price.
“The price of these jabs is lower than our previous purchase. We see that the supply of Sinovac jabs is improving steadily,” he said.
National Task Force Against Covid-19 data said a total of 26.5 million doses of Sinovac have already been delivered to the country as of August 21. There are 500,000 doses from the first order remaining to be delivered.
The Chinese government donated a total of 1 million doses of Sinovac to the Philippines.
On top of the country’s stock of Sinovac jabs, Galvez said 5 million doses of Pfizer and 3 to 4 million doses of Moderna are also due to arrive in September.
He added the government also aims to buy 2 million doses of Sputnik Light, Russia’s single-shot Covid-19 vaccine, which was recently given a green light for emergency use in the Philippines by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The country has a cumulative vaccine supply of 48,522,890 doses, of which 30,693,019 doses have already been administered nationwide.
A total of 17,495,330 Filipinos have received their first dose while 13,197,689 others have already been fully vaccinated.
Fully vaccinated individuals represent 17.11 percent of the 77,139,058 eligible population that the government intends to vaccinate by the end of 2021 to achieve herd immunity.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has lauded the Philippines’ Covid-19 vaccine rollout, calling it an “important moment” in the country.
“The WHO, together with the government, [we] support all of its efforts, but the Delta variant is here in the Philippines, and like other countries in the region, it is a very important moment for the Philippines, and I want to encourage everybody to take their role in protecting their loved ones and the greater community so we can stay on course,” WHO Western Pacific Regional Director Dr. Takeshi Kasai said.
Meanwhile, Moderna has applied for an amendment to its emergency use authorization for use on children aged 12 and above.
“Hopefully, within this week or next week, we will be able to finish the evaluation,” FDA Director General Eric Domingo said.
Domingo added it did not approve Sinovac’s application for the use of its vaccine on children due to the lack of clinical trials.
At the House of Representatives, Aambis-OWA Rep. Sharon Garin filed a resolution asking the House Committee on Economic Affairs to conduct a probe on the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines by local government units and the private sector.
The resolution said, “There is a need for more transparency and more government information as to the allocation and coverage of the Covid-19 vaccination rollout, particularly in the provinces and in rural areas.”
WITH CURRIE CATOR, RED MENDOZA AND REINA TOLENTINO