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DOH: P12.9B needed for purchase of COVID-19 vaccines

The Philippine government needs P12.9 billion for the purchase of vaccines against COVID-19, a Department of Health (DOH) official said Friday.

DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje made the disclosure during the budget hearing on DOH’s proposed P127 billion budget for 2021 before the House appropriations panel.

“We need P12.9 billion po, pero P2.5 billion po muna ang in-allocate namin kasi po ang scheme, puwede hong loan sa Landbank para macover ‘yung remaining budget requirement,” Cabotaje said.

“Ang mechanism po, uutang po sa Landbank, the purchase will be made by PITC-Pharmaceutical under DTI. Iyong pambayad, kukunin po sa budget ng DOH in the coming years. Iyan po ang aming proposal ng vaccine procurement,” she added.

Likewise, Cabotaje said the DOH is also in touch with suppliers who are keen on selling anti-COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines once it becomes available and passed regulatory standards of the country’s Food and Drug administration.

The clinical trials for the World Health Organization solidarity trial for possible vaccine against COVID-19 will be held in the Philippines by the end of October, and health officials have said that clinical trials can last up to six months.

A study conducted by nongovernment organization Oxfam, on the other hand, revealed a day ago that a group of wealthy nations representing 13% of the global population have already bought up more than half of the promised doses of future COVID-19 vaccines.

Oxfam’s analysis covered five vaccines from AstraZeneca, Gamaleya/Sputnik, Moderna, Pfizer and Sinovac. Per Oxfam, supply deals have so far been agreed for 5.3 billion doses, of which 2.7 billion (51%) have been bought by developed countries namely the United States, United Kingdom, European Union (composed of 27 countries) Australia, Hong Kong and Macau, Japan, Switzerland and Israel.

The remaining 2.6 billion doses, on the other hand, have been bought by or promised to developing countries including India, Bangladesh, China, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico, among others.—AOL, GMA News