PH, 5 vaccine manufacturers ink deals

A steady supply of coronavirus vaccines this year has been secured after the government closed procurement contracts with five pharmaceutical companies.

In a press release from the National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19, Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. bared on Friday that more deals with vaccine manufacturers Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Novavax, and Gamaleya Research Institute have been finalized.

The government has yet to close a supply agreement for Johnson&Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, he added.

To date, the Philippines has purchased 25 million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac, 13 million doses of Moderna, 20 million doses of Gamaleya’s Sputnik V, and 45 million doses of Novavax.

Galvez said some 17 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, procured through a tripartite agreement with local government units (LGUs) and the private sector, will be delivered beginning June.

The first tranche of Russia’s Sputnik V will be delivered this month.

The government is also negotiating with the US-based Pfizer-BioNTech to expedite the logistical requirements for the deployment of its vaccines.

Some 2.4 million doses of Pfizer jabs secured via the COVAX Facility are expected for delivery within this quarter.

“Every volume of Covid-19 jabs negotiated between the government and vaccine makers is very significant,” he said in a news release. “Once a steady supply is secured, the inoculation of the general public will follow.”

He said the arrival of the bulk of is seen in August.

Managing future health crisis

On the other hand, Galvez said the government is preparing for a “long-haul” response to the health crisis.

“This preparation includes enabling all pandemic functions, provision of added protection and vaccination, and building resilience through increasing hospital bed capacity,” he said.

Galvez said they will utilize a “multi-pronged approach” in managing future pandemics that entails scaling up the government’s Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Recover Strategy.

The efforts will be carried out by the Department of Health, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and other line government agencies.

“The main objective is to prepare the mindset of everybody that the virus will still stay for one or two more years and we need to manage and contain the surge of cases until the great majority of our people are vaccinated and protected,” he said.

Filipinos, he added, must be given an added layer of protection through the provision of pandemic kits including face masks, vitamins, and medicines.

“Immune systems must be boosted and homecare services and telemedicine should be established,” he added.

The government also targets to ensure the Philippines’ pandemic resilience by increasing the capacity of intensive care units and emergency rooms, adding hospital beds dedicated to moderate and severe patients and construction of additional temporary treatment and monitoring facilities.

As of April 12, Galvez said the government has handed over to the LGUs across the country 655 infrastructure facilities composed of modular hospitals, quarantine and isolation facilities as well as offsite dormitories with 24,128 beds. (PNA)

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