PH to get 25M COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna, Arcturus – envoy

The Philippines Ambassador to the US, Jose Manuel Romualdez, could get four to 25 million COVID-19 from two more drugmakers Moderna and Arcturus.

Romualdez said the vaccines would be ready by the third quarter of 2021 should the government accept the firms’ proposals.

“We are hoping our government will consider the promising candidates of Moderna and Arcturus for inclusion in our country’s pool of anti-COVID vaccines,” Romualdez said in a statement.

US Food and Drug Administration is expected to grant Moderna emergency use authorization (EUA), making it the second COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in the US.

Last month,  Inc announced its  vaccine was 94.5% effective in a preliminary analysis of a large late-stage clinical trial.

Noubar Afeyan, Moderna co-founder and chairman, said around 10 to 20 million doses would be distributed through the supply chain before the end of 2020 and around 50 million doses by the first quarter of 2021.

Compared to Pfizer, Afeyan said that Moderna’s innovations enable it to “keep the vaccine under refrigeration conditions for up to 30 days,” enabling broad distribution.

PH to get 25M COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna, Arcturus

Like Pfizer, the Moderna vaccine would also come in two doses, making the distribution a challenge.

Afeyan said they decided to have the vaccine in two doses to give people the highest protection level.

Meanwhile, Romualdez said yesterday the country could access  COVID-19 vaccines by June 2021.

This was after Romualdez revealed that the country missed the chance to get an early supply of 10 million Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines supposed to be delivered by January next year.

Romualdez said this was according to Pfizer’s own estimate.

“We did what we could here and talking to them and moving it quickly and that’s why what Secretary said ‘somebody dropped the ball,’ eh in a way parang ganun na nga ‘yun kasi siyempre ‘yung bola nandito sa amin, galing sa kanya, pinasa namin, eh yung bola nawala, eh last three minutes eh. But, it’s okay, we’re still in play, hindi naman tapos ‘yung game,” Romualdez said.

According to Romualdez, he doesn’t know how the Manila officials evaluated and processed the approval of the Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA) with Pfizer. Unfortunately, the “sense of urgency” was not met to sign the CDA.