National Policy Against Covid-19 chief implementer and Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. (file photo)
MANILA – The government has strengthened its diplomatic arrangements to ensure the country’s immediate procurement of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine once it becomes available, National Policy Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Wednesday.
“Ang gusto po nga natin na kapagka nag-roll out ang mga vaccines sa mga foreign countries ay magro-roll out na rin po sa atin so kinakausap po natin yung mga (What we want to happen is if vaccines will be rolled out in foreign countries, we will also roll out in our country so we are talking to) different sources,” Galvez said in a virtual presser.
As various clinical trials continue to progress, Galvez said the best-case scenario to roll out the vaccination activities in the Philippines is by the second quarter of 2021.
“We are already conducting diplomatic engagements which we hope to become equitable and I believe that WHO (World Health Organization) is on top of it—to prioritize countries like us,” Galvez said.
Galvez said the government is also working on a “multi-approach” when it comes to securing access to the Covid-19 vaccine for the Filipino people through the COVAX vaccine.
“We already have 80-percent guaranteed access, so meaning, about 20 million to 25 million Filipinos can access equitably in [this] COVAX,” Galvez said.
The COVAX clinical trials — co-led by the WHO, Gavi, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEVI) — aims to accelerate the development and manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines based on the principle of equitable access for all nations.
“So far we are conducting bilateral engagements so that we can increase (our capacity), our access to at least 25 million to 30 million of our population will be vaccinated each year since the vaccination [is]—realistically if we are targeting 75 to 80 percent of our population—we will do this in three to five years time,” he said.
Galvez said the government is also hoping to buy at least 50 million vaccines next year.
Meanwhile, Galvez said the government has entered multilateral arrangements with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other financing institutions for the advance payment of vaccines.
“We are also entering in tri-partite agreement with the business sector,” he said.
Galvez said groups from the private sector have already volunteered to augment the government’s capacity to purchase the Covid-19 vaccines. (PNA)