COVID-19 Crisis: 40 million doses of Pfizer vaccine coming to the Philippines

As the nationwide count of COVID-19 vaccine jabs surpassed 8,000,000, a staggering supply of 40,000,000 vaccine doses from Pfizer will come into the country within this year. This is the result of a signed agreement between Pfizer and National Task Force against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. according to an article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) yesterday.

To put things into perspective, posted below is an excerpt from PNA’s article. Some parts in boldface…

The Philippine government has made the biggest vaccine procurement for 2021 with the signing of a supply agreement for 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

This was announced by the National Task Force against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on Sunday.

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

“I would like to thank my colleagues from the Philippine vaccine negotiating team from the Department of Finance and our multilateral partner for tirelessly working to secure these much-needed shots that will benefit 20 million Filipinos,” he added

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

“The vaccine demand has begun to ease up for many big and rich countries, as most of them have already acquired more than enough vaccines for their population and have vaccinated many of their citizens. This has allowed the manufacturer to commit to us that deliveries, though still to be made in tranches, will be in bulk,” he pointed out.

The procurement of the 40 million vaccine doses will be financed through a multilateral arrangement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Galvez explained that loan funds from multilateral partners such as the ADB follows a direct disbursement scheme wherein payments are paid directly by the fund manager to the vaccine manufacturer.

“Through this scheme, the Filipino people can be assured that our transactions on vaccine procurement will be transparent, as the funds will not pass through the hands of any government official or agency,” he emphasized.

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

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

Mathematically and theoretically, 40 million Pfizer doses can be used to vaccinate 20 million first-timers and provide for each and every one of them the 2nd dose. How exactly will those future vaccines from Pfizer will be distributed to the local citizens has yet to be determined as of this writing.

It should be noted that recently, the City Government of Muntinlupa announced a reduction of capacity for vaccinating patients per site due to tight supply of vaccines. Over in the City of Las Piñas, an incentive program designed to encourage locals to get vaccinated was launched and in recent times the number of citizens vaccinated grew tremendously. Ultimately the supply of COVID-19 vaccines for the Philippines remains a sensitive issue.

This is not the first time Pfizer vaccines became available here in the Philippines. Take a look back at the Pfizer launch in Parañaque City.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Does the newly signed agreement of securing 40 million vaccines from Pfizer encourage you to get registered and join the line to get vaccinated? Are you very choosy when it comes to the different brands of vaccines? Why?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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