Philippines, Pfizer sign deal for 20M more COVID-19 vax doses

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Philippines, Pfizer sign deal for 20M more COVID-19 vax doses
© REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo Vials of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine are pictured in a vaccination centre in Geneva, Switzerland, February 3, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

The Philippine government and Pfizer-BioNTech have signed an amendment to its previous supply deal for the purchase of an additional 20 million vaccine doses, which would bring the country’s total Pfizer shots to 60 million.

National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. bared the new deal on Saturday, two days ahead of the 3-day national vaccination drive “Bayanihan, Bakunahan”.

“With these additional doses, we can ensure the sustainability of our National Vaccination Program, and hit the vaccination targets we have set not only for this year, but for 2022 as well,” he said.

Galvez noted that latest procurement will be used as booster shots for minors or new vaccine formulation subject to Food and Drug Administration’s approval.

According to Galvez, the 20 million Pfizer doses will be financed through the Philippines COVID-19 Emergency Response Project (PCERP), an additional financing loan which the national government secured from the World Bank in March 2021.

“We are very grateful to our vaccine makers such as Pfizer and our institutional and multinational partners such as the World Bank for fully supporting the Philippines’ pandemic response efforts. With their help, we have been able to secure sufficient vaccine doses for our people,” he said.

Edilberto Reyes, Pfizer Philippines Interim Country Manager, said the additional doses will be delivered to the country starting January 2022 based on a monthly schedule agreed upon by both parties.

2022 vaccination targets

Further, Galvez said that they have set four major milestones for the government’s vaccination program, which they aim to achieve by the third quarter of 2022.

First of which is to fully vaccinate 54 million Filipinos this year, including at least 80% of the pediatric population ages 12 to 17, and the administration of booster shots to 1.6 million health workers and 5 to 8 million senior citizens and individuals with comorbidities.

Second one is to fully vaccinate 77 million Filipinos by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

“We will also carry out, in a phased manner, the administration of booster shots to the A4 group or our economic frontliners, as well as the vaccination of minors ages 5 to 11,” the vaccine czar said.

The third one is to increase the number of fully vaccinated individuals to 90 million by the second quarter of 2022 and to complete the administration of booster shots for government and economic frontliners, while the fourth milestone is to complete the primary and booster vaccination of the rest of the population by the end of the third quarter of 2022.

“We really have to make sure that we are able to get the COVID-19 jabs to the arms of as many Filipinos as possible in order for our country to achieve herd immunity at the soonest possible time,” he added.

To date, the country has received a total of 142,153,340 COVID-19 vaccine doses from various vaccine manufacturers since February. Of the total vaccine stock, at least 92 million were procured by the national government.

According to NTF, a total of 8,017,994 vaccine doses have been administered nationwide as of Saturday. Of this number, 45,286,049 doses were given as the first dose, while 35,557,409 or 46.10% were given as second-dose shots for full vaccination. —LBG, GMA News

This article Philippines, Pfizer sign deal for 20M more COVID-19 vax doses was originally published in GMA News Online.

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