The Duterte government is negotiating to procure 20 to 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, the country’s “vaccine czar” said today, as the number of infected people in the Philippines is threatening to breach the one million mark.
“We are happy with Pfizer because of their commitment. We are negotiating for more or less 20 to 40 million. These are doses,” Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr said in English and Filipino in the talk show Headstart.
Galvez thanked the country’s ambassador to the United States Jose Romualdez for “helping” the government with the negotiations. He did not say when the doses will be delivered but said that after July 4, the United States is expected to be done with its vaccination campaign, and more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech jabs will become available.
“The minimum [order] is 20 million from Pfizer, then we can add more 20 million [doses]…We are very happy that they confirmed their initial commitment,” he said.
The United States purchased 800 million doses of vaccines in August 2020, ahead of most countries in the world. Experts say that vaccine nationalism could hinder the march to global herd immunity, with countries in the Global South unable to purchase potent drugs to innoculate their people. World Bank President David Malpass and José Manuel Barroso, chair of the Gavi vaccine alliance, yesterday urged developed countries to release their excess supplies of vaccines so that other countries could use them.
The Philippines is aiming to vaccinate 70 million people this year, but as of this month, only 1.1 million have received one dose and 132,288 are fully vaccinated. As of today, the country has 157,451 active cases of COVID with 15,149 deaths. Overall, the country has logged a total of 876,225 cases since the pandemic started in 2020.