This illustration taken on October 31, 2020 shows vials with a label that reads "COVID-19 Vaccine Only/Coronavirus Vaccine/Injection" and a medical syringe in front of the Pfizer logo shown. Ruvich Dice, Reuters/Istration/File
Manila (UPDATED) - President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday that the Philippines will borrow about $300 million to buy a coronavirus vaccine.
Duterte issued a statement after Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech announced that their experimental vaccine is more than 90 percent effective against deadly diseases.
"Nandito na ang-Vaccine. A decision is being made. It is not good to assume that there is a black market for it. But (financial section.) Sonny (Dominguez) says he can borrow money... 300 million dollars. Malaki Yan. So, uh, makabili tayo. But I think it would be a good idea for us to realize that it's not bad," Duterte said at an open briefing.
(The vaccine is here. It's being decided. It's not good to assume there's a black market for it. But Sonny says he can borrow money... ...$300 million. That's a lot of money. So we can buy it. But I think it would be good for us to realize that they would put their people first :)
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SE were the first to publish successful data from large-scale clinical trials of the coronavirus vaccine. The companies said they have not yet encountered serious safety issues and expect to receive U.S. approval for emergency use of the vaccine in November of this year.
Pfizer, BioNTech, said its COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective.
"Hindi na talaga nakakatakot ang COVID. ,pero mag buy ka mahal But as promised, the expenses will shoulder by our government . Kaya umpisahan natin sa mga mahihirap," said Duterte.
(COVID is not so scary anymore. But for now, it's expensive if you buy the vaccine. But, as I promised, the government will cover the cost of the vaccine for all Filipinos. The poor will be the first to be vaccinated.)
In July, Duterte announced that the Armed Forces of the Philippines would be the "implementing arm" of the country's coronavirus immunization program.
The previous Tuesday, the Philippines registered 1,347 additional cases of CovID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 399,749. There are 30,169 active infections in the country, representing 7.5 percent of the total number of cases.
According to the Department of Health, the new coronavirus, which first appeared in Wuhan City in central China at the end of last year, has claimed 7,561 lives in the Philippines. The total number of patients recovered is 361,919, which represents 90.5% of the total number of reported cases.