MANILA - The Philippine government is negotiating with 4 pharmaceutical companies that are developing the vaccine for COVID-19.
Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr., the country's "King of Vaccines," said that 17 different COVID-19 vaccines are being analyzed by government vaccine experts.
Of these, five will be tested on Filipinos, including vaccines developed by China's Sinovac, Russia's Gamaleya, Britain's AstraZeneca and the U.S.'s Johnson & Johnson.
Galves also said that after President Rodrigo Duterte authorized the emergency use of the coronavirus vaccines and approved advance payments to private developers, the government is currently negotiating with four vaccine manufacturers: Sinovac, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.
"When it approved the procedures and strategies for Tai Yong Tinatawag's Magcarun in advanced market commitments. Sa ngayon po, puwede na po tayo, nagne-negotiate na po tayo sa 4 na malalaking kumpanya, kasama na po ang Sinovac from China, ang ating AstraZeneca at Pfizer," Galvez, who is also the executive director of the National Action Plan against COVID-19, said during the weekly Cabinet briefing with the president.
(When the procedures and strategies were approved, we can now have advanced market commitments. We can now negotiate, and we are negotiating with four major companies, including Sinovac, AstraZeneca and Pfizer).
Galves said the government hopes to sign a memorandum of understanding with AstraZeneca by the end of the month.
The British company will reserve 20 million doses for the Philippines. According to Galves, AstraZeneca is among the companies with the most affordable vaccine, at about $5 per dose.
After signing a memorandum of understanding, AstraZeneca's vaccine could go on sale around the second quarter of 2021.
In addition to AstraZeneca, the government is also overseeing 20 million doses of Sinovac and Pfizer, totaling about 60 million doses to be administered to the country's most vulnerable populations, as well as advanced healthcare workers and the police and military.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION OF THE VACCINE, BY SECTOR
Once the vaccines are available, the government will implement them geographically and then by sector, Gálvez said.
That means "deploying the Young Pong vaccine, to doon sa infected at the epicenter of Young Mga Tinatawag Nating," he said.
(That means the deployment will be for those infected and in what we see as epicenters).
Among the areas that will be prioritized are the National Capital Region, Cebu City, Davao City and Bacolod City, as well as other areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases.
"Priority announcer, priority ann Davao dahil ann Davao over ngayon umaakyat din, priority ann Cebu, priority ann 'yung bacolod, jung mga titamaan over nang mabigat ng COVID, at least malalamaan over kaagad 'yung efficiency niya," explained Galvez.
(We will give priority to NCR, we will give priority to Davao because the number of cases is increasing there, we will give priority to Cebu, we will give priority to areas like Bacolod, which have been severely affected by COVID-19, so that we can immediately know the effectiveness of the vaccine.)
In these areas, priority will be given to the sectors previously identified by Dutherte: the poor, the vulnerable, the police, the armed forces and others who are considered frontline workers.
"Then from the geographical sector, magic. This refers to the Kung Sino ang priority natin, for example, Sa'a Metro Manila, "Young urban poor, Wunahin natin duon". Vulnerable jung, uunahin po natin duon, 'jung mga sandalo naka-assin sa NCR, uunahin po natin. Saka'yung is the main worker," Galvez said.
(From a geographic perspective, we will inject the vaccine by sector. That means we will prioritize the sectors that the government has previously identified. Priority will be given to those who are vulnerable, the soldiers who will be deployed to the U.S.S.R., we will give priority to them, as well as key workers).
The Ministry of Health said that frontline health workers, who number more than 1.7 million, are the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
They are followed by the elderly poor (more than 3.7 million), the rest of the elderly (more than 5.6 million), the rest of the poor (almost 13 million), and the uniformed personnel (more than half a million).
Officials predict that the first shipment of Covid-19 vaccine should arrive by the second quarter of 2021.
As of Monday, the new coronavirus has already affected 420,614 people in the Philippines. The number of people affected is 8,173, 386,604 in recovery and 25,837 active cases.
It is believed that the new coronavirus first appeared in the central Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of last year.
According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University in the USA, more than 58.6 million people worldwide were infected with the COVID-19 virus, causing 1.38 million deaths.
Treatment and vaccination against this disease is still in development, but recent trials by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have shown encouraging results.
A man working in the packaging workshop of Chinese vaccine manufacturer Sinovac Biotech developing an experimental coronavirus vaccine (COVID-19) during a government-sponsored media tour in Beijing, China, on September 24, 2020.
image by Thomas Peter,