By Jelly Musico
COVID-19 VACCINE. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over the 50th Cabinet Meeting at the Malacañang Palace on Jan. 11, 2021. The Department of Finance reported that PHP75 billion has been allotted for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines for 57 million Filipinos. (Presidential photo by Alberto Alcain)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – The national government has allotted PHP75 billion for the procurement of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines for 57 million Filipinos, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Tuesday.
In a virtual presser, Nograles said it was the Department of Finance that announced the budget allocation for Covid-19 vaccines during the 50th Cabinet meeting in Malacañang on Monday night.
He said several local government units have also allocated funds to buy Covid-19 vaccines for the 13 million residents.
“When you add the 13 million Filipinos that will be covered by LGU and private sector vaccination efforts, a total of 70 million Filipinos should be able to receive the Covid-19 vaccine,” Nograles said.
Nograles said the planned roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines in the country “is good news that impacts not only the health of our people but the economic well-being of our country as well.”
“We are confident to be able to cover that many Filipinos and that’s enough for herd immunity,” he said.
On Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippines has secured 25 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac.
Roque said the first 50,000 of the 25 million vaccine doses will arrive next month aside from 15,000 to be used for Sinovac’s clinical trials in the country.
He said Sinovac will deliver additional 950,000 doses of vaccines in March, 1 million doses in April, 1 million doses in May, and 2 million doses in June until all 25 million doses are delivered by December this year.
Aside from Sinovac, the government has also signed deals for vaccines developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and British pharmaceutical AstraZeneca.
Roque noted that some 30 million doses of the Indian-made Covovax vaccine would be delivered by the third quarter.
The government has also been negotiating with other pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Gamaleya Institute. (PNA)