P72.5-B enough for COVID-19 vaccines in 2021 – Palace

Palace said Thursday that the Congress-approved P72.5 billion budget for COVID-19 vaccines under the proposed for 2021 is enough to immunize 60 million Filipinos.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque assured this after the Senate and House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a lower budget than the senators’ proposal of P83 billion.

P2.5 billion of the P72.5 billion would come from the Department of Health’s regular funds, while the rest would come from unprogrammed appropriations.

“Tingin ko po sapat po iyan. Kasi nga doon sa scheme na ipapatupad ng [Department of Finance], hindi pa nga po galing sa national appropriations iyong P72 billion na initially kinakailangan natin para sa 60 million katao na mababakunahan,” Roque said at a conference.

Roque referred to the other finance sources such as multilateral institutions like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank and domestic government financial institutions. The Philippines could also get funds through bilateral negotiations with countries selling vaccines.

“Kung maalala po ninyo napakaliit lang ng initial amount na kukunin natin sa budget kasi hindi nga natin alam kung kailan lalabas iyong bakuna. Pero ngayong malinaw na lalabas siya pagkatapos po maipasa ang budget, nandiyan na rin po iyan, so tama rin po iyan,” Roque said.

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P72.5-B enough for COVID-19 vaccines in 2021 – Palace

Last week, Food and Drug Administration () director-general Eric Domingo said a  may be ready for distribution in the Philippines by March 2021.

National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the Philippine government eyes vaccinating around 25 million Filipinos against COVID-19 next year.

Malacañang has already made public the specific number of people who will be given COVID-19 vaccines, divided depending on the sector they belong to.

There are two different priorities regarding immunization: geographical and sectoral priorities, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque clarified.

Here are the top 5 priority sectors and the number of populations it will provide per group:

  • 1st priority- Frontline health workers (1,762,994)
  • 2nd priority- Indigent senior citizens (3,789,874)
  • 3rd priority- Remaining senior citizens (5,678,544)
  • 4th priority- Remaining indigent population (12,911,193)
  • 5th priority- Uniformed personnel (525, 523)