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Philippines in talks to procure 30M doses of Covovax vaccine

Talks are ongoing for the Philippines to secure some 30 million doses of the Covovax vaccine against COVID-19, which is currently in its third stage of clinical trials, the local procurement partner said Sunday.

The vaccine is set to be manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), which has partnered with the Faberco Life Sciences -- headed by Dr. Luningning Villa as medical director -- as its Philippine partner.

"If and when the negotiations are concluded successfully, this would be a wonderful development for us Filipinos," she said, noting that the vaccines could be available in the country in the third quarter of 2021.

The candidate vaccine underwent the initial phases of the clinical trials in Australia, South Africa, and India, with the third phase of trials currently being carried out in the United Kingdom with 15,000 subjects, and in the United States and Mexico with 30,000 subjects.

Villa met with vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on December 18, who earlier this month said procurement negotiations are ongoing and are being sped up, but contracts are likely to be signed by January 2021.

"'Yun po ang nakikita po natin, na karamihan po sa mga ating pirmahan ay pinipilit po namin magkaroon kami ng initial success this December and mostly mga January," he said on December 14.

The Philippines has already allocated P73.2 billion for the procurement of the vaccines, with P40 billion coming from multilateral agencies, P20 billion from domestic sources, and P13.2 billion from bilateral agreements. —LBG, GMA News