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Philippines secures additional 17M doses of AstraZeneca vaccine

The Philippines on Thursday secured an additional 17 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine developed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.

This brings the total number of doses from AstraZeneca to 19.6 million. The agreement involved the national government, local government units and representatives from the private sector and AstraZeneca.

Last November 27, the country secured 2.6 million doses through a tripartite agreement between the national government, private sector and AstraZeneca.

This setup was also used by several local government units (LGUs) when they placed advanced orders for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

AstraZeneca’s application for an emergency use authorization (EUA) has yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In a video message, President Rodrigo Duterte hailed the business community and the LGUs for their support to the fight against COVID-19.

“Our tripartite agreement is a true showcase of unity, of purpose, and principled partnership benefitting our public. This is bayanihan at work,” he said.

“We now have the weapon to defeat this virus, the vaccine, and let us win the war and save lives and livelihoods.”

Some senators on Monday said the LGUs and private sector should be allowed to deal directly with vaccine manufacturers. However, Galvez said negotiating with national governments is the current global practice.

The country has also secured 30 million doses from the Serum Institute of India and 25 million from Sinovac, which applied for an EUA for its CoronaVac vaccine with the FDA on Wednesday.

Vaccine doses from Pfizer-BioNTech, which was granted an EUA by the FDA, might arrive in the country as early as February. —KBK, GMA News