The Philippine government would sign an agreement with British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the private sector to purchase 2 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine today, November 27.
National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. announced the deal yesterday and said the private sector would shoulder the cost of the COVID-19 vaccines.
“This coming Friday, we will sign the tripartite agreement where we will buy 2 million doses of the vaccine from the United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca. Joining us will be the private sector who donated these,” Galvez said in a press briefing.
According to Galvez, the United Kingdom and AstraZeneca wanted to make their vaccine accessible to all and were not aiming to earn from it.
AstraZeneca said on Monday its COVID-19 vaccine was 70% effective in crucial trials and could be up to 90% effective.
The drugmaker also said that it would manufacture as many as 200 million doses by the end of 2020. The number was 400 times higher than U.S. competitor Pfizer Inc. AstraZeneca said 700 million doses could be available worldwide by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
PH signing vaccine deal with AstraZeneca, private sector today
“This means we have a vaccine for the world,” said Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford University group that developed the vaccine.
On Wednesday, AstraZeneca submitted the necessary documents to Philippine health authorities to conduct clinical trials for its vaccine in the country.
“They already submitted their documents to our Vaccine Experts Panel last November 16, during that time may kulang pa [they still have deficiencies],” Health Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters in an online media briefing.
“Immediately, last November 18, they were able to complete all the documentary requirements. So the evaluation of our vaccine experts panel and Ethics Review Board can now start,” she added.
He added that cities are priorities as they are usually economic centers and have many COVID-19 cases.
He also said essential workers in the business sectors and government officials would also be given priority.