The government eyes to initially give COVID-19 vaccine shots to around 50% to 60% of the Philippine population, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Friday.
“We initially costed for 20 million, which is 20% of our population, but when we were discussing it with our vaccine czar, Secretary [Carlito] Galvez, Jr., we decided we would want to have an expanded coverage where 50 to 60% of the population can be vaccinated,” Vergeire said in an ANC interview.
The government plans to buy 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. The initial batch of vaccines would be given to the poor, healthcare workers, security forces, and other government frontline workers.
However, Vergeire admitted that the vaccine’s cold storage and distribution cost could be more costly than the vaccine itself.
“We need to be able to cost the end-to-end process before we eventually expand the coverage to include at least 50% of the population for this vaccine,” she said.
“We are sourcing out, we are looking for many vaccines, but for those which require ultra low freezer storage, that will require a lot of money because the cost will also include distributing these vaccines to different localities,” Vergeire added.
COVID-19 vaccines for up to 60% of population eyed
Vergeire did not detail how much purchasing COVID-19 vaccines, including the cost of its logistical requirements.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Thursday the Philippines would be assured to get 30 to 50 million COVID-19 vaccines from drugmakers in China, United Kingdom, and the United States within the month.
However, Galvez said he could not disclose the price of the COVID-19 vaccine due to a confidentiality disclosure agreement between the Philippines and the manufacturers.
Galvez said that the Philippines is assured of 17 million of the 50 million COVID-19 vaccine supply from the COVAX facility.
“Ang earlier, possibly, iyong sa Russia, kung tama ang sinabi ng ating ambassador, first-quarter [ng 2021], puwede pong magkaroon na tayo ng bakuna,” Galvez said.
“Iyong sa COVAX naman po, earliest in May, June , at mas maraming supply by the third and fourth quarter, even 2022,” he added.