The Philippines is assured of thirty million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with the recent signing of a term sheet by National Task Force against COVID-19’s Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr with Serum Institute of India (SII) and Faberco Life Sciences.
With the term sheet, the Philippines can expect the delivery of the first doses of Covovax vaccine by the third quarter of 2021, said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. Covovax was developed by Novavax Inc, a biotechnology company based in the United States and is being manufactured by SII, which is said to be the biggest vaccine manufacturer in the world.
“Ang maganda po sa Covovax ay kinakailangan lamang ng 2 degrees Centigrade to 8 degrees Centigrade, ang standard temperature sa existing cold chain system sa Pilipinas,” said Secretary Roque during a press briefing on January 11, 2021.
The Palace official further said that other vaccines, especially those developed by Western countries, require -70 degrees Centigrade, and which the Philippines does not have much cold chain facility especially outside of Metro Manila to accommodate such cold chain requirement.
In the same press briefing, Dr. Ma. Luningning Elio-Villa, Medical Director at Faberco Life Sciences, Inc., which will represent SII in the distributorship of Covovax in the Philippines, confirmed that there is indeed a commitment already on the part of SII to supply 30 million doses of Covovax to the Philippines. Faberco will be the local company coordinator that will ensure that the vaccines will be properly received and delivered to the national government.
Dr. Villa said that Covovax is currently undergoing phase three clinical trials in the United Kingdom, the United States, Mexico, and India. She added that the clinical trials involve multi-racial studies to ensure the vaccines efficacy and safety across multiple races of people.
With the preliminary results of phase three clinical trials, of which many are nearing completion already, Dr. Villa said that she is hopeful that the delivery of the 30 million doses is expected to be completed within five to six months upon the finalization of the agreement.
Meanwhile, Sec. Roque also affirmed the announcement made by the Department of Health on the 25 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine that was secured by the national government and is expected to arrive next month, February.
“Ang paunang darating po ay 50,000 doses lamang ng vaccine galing sa Sinovac. Pero at least magsisimula na rin po tayo,” said Roque. He added that the number of doses of Sinovac that was secured by the government is in addition to the 15,000 doses of the vaccine that will be used in the clinical trial that will be conducted here in the Philippines, which will result to some 65,000 Filipinos who will receive the vaccine by February.
“Sa susunod na buwan po ng Marso magkakaroon tayo ng 950,000 na additional doses ng nasabing Sinovac at sa Abril, 1 million dose, sa Mayo, 1 million dose, sa June, 2 million hanggang mabuo ang 25 million pagdating ng Disyembre,” Roque explained.
Secretary Roque, who is the concurrent IATF Spokesperson, added that other countries outside China, such as Turkey, Thailand, and Indonesia have found Sinovac safe and effective.
With the news on the increasing number of COVID-19 vaccines that the national government has secured for the Filipinos, the Palace spokesman once again reiterated the geographical and sectoral priorities for the vaccines. Leading the list of geographical priorities are the National Capital Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Region XI, Region IV-A, Cebu City, and Davao City.
Sectoral priorities are the frontline health workers, indigent senior citizens, the remaining senior citizen population, indigents, and uniformed personnel. ### OPS-PCOO