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PH and Pfizer sign supply agreement for 40 million doses

By on June 20, 2021 0

Pfizer-BionNTech (Photo courtesy of Anadolu)

MANILA – The Philippine government made the largest vaccine purchase for 2021 with the signing of a supply agreement for 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

This was announced on Sunday by the national task force against the chief secretary for the implementation of Covid-19, Carlito Galvez Jr ..

“We are very pleased to announce that the government and management of Pfizer have finally concluded our negotiations. Secretary (of Health) (Francisco) Duque and I signed yesterday (Saturday) the supply agreement for the most important and the most decisive deal we have had for 2021, ”said Galvez.

“I would like to thank my colleagues on the Philippine Vaccine Negotiating Team at the Ministry of Finance and our multilateral partner for working tirelessly to obtain these much-needed vaccines that will benefit 20 million Filipinos,” he added.

The vaccine czar said shipments of 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will begin “after eight weeks from August,” to be delivered in bulk.

“The demand for vaccines has started to decline for many large and wealthy countries, as most of them have already acquired more than enough vaccines for their populations and have vaccinated many of their citizens. This enabled the manufacturer to make a commitment to us that deliveries, although still to be carried out in installments, will be done in bulk ”, he stressed.

The purchase of the 40 million doses of vaccine will be financed by a multilateral agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Galvez explained that loan funds from multilateral partners such as the ADB follow a direct disbursement program in which payments are paid directly by the fund manager to the vaccine manufacturer.

“Through this program, the Filipino people can be assured that our transactions on the purchase of vaccines will be transparent, as funds will not pass through the hands of any official or government agency,” he said.

With the latest supply agreement, the Philippines has now ensured the delivery of 113 million doses from five manufacturers, namely Sinovac with 26 million doses, Sputnik V with 10 million doses, 20 million doses of Moderna, 17 million doses of AstraZeneca and 40 million doses of Pfizer.

The COVAX facility has also committed to deliver a total of 44 million doses this year, bringing the total number of doses secured by the Philippines to 157 million doses.

Meanwhile, around 16 million doses of Novavax and Johnson & Johnson are still being negotiated.

“Pfizer’s vaccines will significantly strengthen our national immunization program and enable us to achieve our goal of achieving herd immunity by the end of the year. This is another positive development that will give all Filipinos a happy and better Christmas, ”said Galvez.

LGUs must be ready

Galvez reiterated that readiness on the part of Local Government Units (LGUs) is “imperative” with confirmed supply from Pfizer.

“We again insist that LGUs provide third-party logistics and cold chain service providers for very sensitive vaccines like Pfizer, Moderna and Sputnik V. We don’t want a vaccine to be wasted because of spoilage and improper handling, “said the vaccine czar.

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines have storage temperature requirements of minus 80 to minus 60 degrees centigrade while Moderna and Sputnik require minus 20.

Galvez said the government will roll out purchased Pfizer doses to all provinces and regions.

“We intend to deploy the Pfizer, Sputnik V and Moderna vaccines as soon as possible and distribute them even in rural areas and communities. However, this will not be possible if the receiving ASU is not ready to handle these types of vaccines, ”said Galvez.

He said the planned delivery of Pfizer and Moderna will coincide with the opening of the national immunization program to the general population, including those under 12 to 15 years of age.

However, the NTF clarified that the adult population and the vulnerable sector will always be a priority in the vaccination program.

Galvez said immunization for 12 to 15 year olds could be carried out in the latter part of the year, as the country increases its vaccine inventory and completes immunization of priority areas. (RP)

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