Galvez: PH gets bulk of procured vaccines by midyear

National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. has assured the Philippines will get the bulk of the Covid-19 vaccines in the second quarter this year,

Galvez said the vaccine arrival will enable government “to significantly scale up the implementation of our vaccine program and enable the country to achieve herd immunity. “Rest assured that the Duterte administration has been relentless in acquiring these vaccines to ensure that the country will have a fair share of the doses,” he added.

Galvez said the limited vaccine supply is a global problem. “The current production capacity of vaccine manufacturers simply has not been able to keep up with global demand,” and most of the anti-Covid vaccines have been pre-ordered by developed countries, he explained.

Galvez likewise shared that the Philippines has secured enough funding for the vaccines from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank which have approved separate loans to cover the P62-billion component of the P82.5 billion needed for the vaccine procurement, Galvez said, quoting Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez. The balance, he added, will be financed internally.

Dominguez, however, earlier pointed out that having funds will not guarantee the country will be able to get all the doses it needs. The country’s initial rollout of its Covid-19 vaccination program began on March 1, following the arrival of 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines, immediately followed by 525,400 doses of AstraZeneca.

The Sinovac vaccines were donated by the Chinese government, while the AstraZeneca jabs were from the COVAX Facility. Galvez said 90% of the vaccines have been deployed in various part of the country, including “far-flung areas such as Batanes in Northern Luzon, and  the southernmost island province of Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao.”

“The national vaccination program is still on track, as the government targets to vaccinate 70 million Filipinos this year,” he said.