President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday the Philippines would go for the cheapest COVID-19 vaccine that would be available in the market given the country’s lack of funds, adding all vaccines carry the same effect.
“It’s there. I think it’s Moderna, it is a US company, I think they are ready by September. . . . Sinovac, China is also ready,” he said in a taped address aired nationwide Monday.
“Kung sino magbigay ng mura dun tayo pupunta [we will go for whatever is the cheapest]. We know we don’t have much money, kung mahal masyado, we will go for the less expensive ones,” Duterte added.
Under the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, a P10 billion standby fund is allocated for the purchase and testing of COVID-19 vaccines.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III earlier said at least 20 million Filipinos would get a free COVID-19 vaccine once it is developed.
He said the vaccines would be bought thru the Philippine International Trading Corporation, which is under the Department of Trade and Industry, which will turn over the vaccine to DOH.
Meanwhile, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara earlier said the public could avail COVID-19 vaccine by the second quarter of 2021.
Guevarra said in a press conference that the Philippines would have access to the COVID-19 vaccine by the fourth quarter of 2020 but only for clinical trials.
According to Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the DOST Philippine Council for Health Research Development, the timeline of the vaccine’s availability would depend on the country that developed the vaccine.
Philippines to buy cheapest COVID-19 vaccine – Duterte
The President also declared the country had flattened the COVID-19 curve in his message.
“We had obedience, and people followed that meant a lot and contributed to what is happening now that there’s a flattening of cases,” he said.
“Yung local government also played a vital role in the [enforcement] of anti-virus measures. I salute you for doing your duty very well,” he added.
As of September 7, the Philippines has 49,931 active cases of COVID-19 after recording 184,906 recoveries and 3,890 deaths.