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Galvez: Bulk of vaccines vs. COVID-19 to arrive end of 2021, early 2022

The bulk of vaccines against COVID-19 will be available by end of 2021 to early 2022, vaccine czar and National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said Monday.

Galvez said the planning and preparation for the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination can take at least six months, and that supply is a challenge since rich countries have secured access to most vaccines in advance.

“Ang best case po natin, Mayo o Hulyo [2021], ay may available na vaccine na po [tayo] thru COVAX and bilateral arrangement natin,” Galvez said in an online briefing.

“But realistically speaking, baka po end of the year [2021] or 2022 darating ang main bulk ng vaccine…iyan po ang nakikita natin kasi meron po tayong kakulangan sa suppy kasi iyong mayayamang countries, kinuha na po ang majority ng production,” Galvez added.

The COVAX vaccine facility—a global collaboration of manufacturers and experts which seeks to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines—estimates that the vaccine against COVID1- would cost at least $21 for two doses to be given with a 28-day interval.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s term expires on June 30, 2022.

The national elections, on the other hand, is scheduled on May 9, 2022.

The period for the filing of candidacy for the candidates for 2022 polls is scheduled on October 2021.

Only Chinese vaccine Sinovac has been cleared by the country’s vaccine experts panel (VEP) under the country’s Department of Science and Technology so far.

Sinovac or any other potential vaccine, for that matter, would also need approval from the Ethics Board and the Food and Drug Administration before it can be cleared for clinical trial or entry to the market if the vaccine is already done with its clinical trial phase.

Duterte said the COVID-19 vaccination program will prioritize vulnerable sectors, including the health workers.

Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire earlier said that vaccine supply is just the tip of the iceberg of challenges in implementing the COVID-19 immunization program on top of securing confidence of the populace, having enough cold storage for the vaccine, reaching far-flung areas, among others.

The Philippines has recorded 396,395 COVID-19 cases so far.

Of this number, 361,638 recovered while 7,539 died.

The number of active COVID-19 cases is at 27,218. — RSJ, GMA News