Government may withdraw from Sinovac deal, some officials say

The government’s purchase of the Sinovac vaccine from China may be withdrawn or not continued, according to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. and deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon as they address the Senate.

This is even though the government has entered the so-called “term sheet” or papers showing interest in buying the vaccine.

“Ang alam ko po ngayon, we are dealing with the term sheet, considering that we have to lock, so that we can already make the production. So sa ngayon po wala pa po tayong government fund tayong naibibigay,” said coronavirus disease (COVID-19) National Task Force chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr.

Galvez said yes when Senator Nancy Binay asked if it was possible not to buy doses of Sinovac.

COVID-19 task force deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon also responded affirmatively.

“If the vaccine expert panel does not recommend a certain vaccine, then the Philippine government will not purchase and will not administer the vaccine. The choice of vaccine will be reliant on what vaccine experts will recommend,” said Dizon.

It will be recalled that some senators were skeptical of the alleged purchase of 25 million doses of the government’s Sinovac vaccine.

Government may withdraw from Sinovac deal, some officials say

This is because late-stage clinical trials in Brazil have shown that the vaccine’s efficacy rate – or level of effectiveness in preventing infection – is 50.4 percent.

Some senators also pointed out that Sinovac is more expensive compared to other vaccines that the government is looking at.

Sinovac has already applied for an emergency use authorization (EUA) requirement for vaccine use in the Philippines, so the Food and Drug Administration and experts are still reviewing the vaccine.

So far, according to Galvez, 7 pharmaceutical companies are in talks with the government to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

But he said AstraZeneca, with a price of P500 for every two dozen prices and NovaVax, can be expected to arrive in May (earliest), according to Galvez.

The government is “under negotiation” with Pfizer, Moderna, Gamaleya, and Johnson and Johnson, while the government is also waiting for the promise of free vaccination for 22 million Filipinos at the COVAX facility of the World Health Organization.