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Private sector increases to 6M doses COVID-19 vaccine order from AstraZeneca

The Philippine private sector is set to increase the amount of vaccines it ordered from British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca to as much as 6 million doses, presidential adviser on entrepreneurship Jose Ma. "Joey" Concepcion III said Tuesday.

In a radio interview, Concepcion said the private sector is looking to procure 3.5 million more doses of the vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), on top of the 2.5 million to 3 million announced in November.

"Right now we're in the process of completing it halos aabot 'to siguro ng 3.5 million doses mas mataas kaysa sa unang bilang, so combined baka umabot 'to ng mga 6 million doses," he said in an interview on GMA Super Radyo DZBB.

Ayala Corp. chief operating officer Fernando Zobel de Ayala earlier during the week said the Ayala Group has allocated P120 million to procure 450,000 doses of the same vaccine. Concepcion later said that this order is part of the six million doses to be procured.

Under the agreement with the government, Concepcion said half of the vaccines will be given to the government while the remaining half will be inoculated to private sector employees.

"Kailangan magbayad ng downpayment sa AstraZeneca kasi kung hindi ka magda-downpayment wala kang commitment, so you're making a bet that the vaccine will be approved," he said.

"Medyo risky on the part of the private sector pero we felt that it was worth the risk kasi lahat ng ibang bansa, nakikita natin America, Europe, they have to take positions," he added.

The local Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve any vaccine against COVID-19, but it said it is looking to decide on the Pfizer vaccine by this month.

"At this point in time wala pang ibang pharmaceutical companies that have a program na very reasonable in pricing," said Concepcion.—AOL/BM, GMA News