MANILA – National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. on Wednesday assured the public that the government is still on track of its implementation of the roadmap for COVID-19 vaccination.
This after he said that there is a chance for them to roll out COVID-19 vaccines by the first quarter next year, much earlier than the initial projected implementation by May 2021.
“We are still on track considering the possibility that our best case scenario will be shifted to the first quarter,” he said during the Laging Handa Public Briefing.
Secretary Galvez, who is also the country’s designated vaccine czar, said they continue to explore different COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to reach the target purchase of 50 million to 60 million doses.
“For now, if we will succeed in negotiating with 2 or 3 vaccines from different countries, we might be able to get it during the first quarter,” he said noting they are already in talks with companies from China, Australia, and India. The country is also exploring engagements with different manufacturers from the United States and Russia.
China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm already committed that once negotiations push through in the coming weeks, their vaccines may be available in 60-90 days.
He stressed that the anti-COVID body is still negotiating for the price and volume of the vaccines to ensure safe, effective, and affordable products to be able to provide equitable access for the marginalized and vulnerable sectors.
“We’re looking forward to having 10 million to 15 million or even 20 million vaccines from each of these vaccine makers. Pero kagaya nga po ng sinasabi ng ating mahal na Pangulo at ni Senator Bong Go, kailangan po nating piliin ang safe, effective, at tsaka tinatawag na affordable para po tayo ay magkaroon ng tinatawag na equitable access para sa mahihirap at ng vulnerable sectors [As what President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Senator Bong Go said, we need to choose the vaccine that’s safe effective, and affordable so that we can have equitable access for the poor and the vulnerable sectors],” he said.
Secretary Galvez also noted that they will be employing the whole-of-nation approach on the distribution of the vaccines once available.
“The strategy that we are having now is the whole-of nation approach kasi nakita natin that the private sector, they have used their resources also. They have private hospitals that can be utilized as vaccine centers and also the academe with hospitals, those universities with medical courses, they can be used as vaccination centers,” he said.