Moderna Inc. has agreed to supply the government 13 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, with deliveries set to begin in mid-2021.
The company will work with regulators to obtain the necessary approvals before distribution, it said in a press release.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the country can also expect another 1.4 million doses of the CoronaVac vaccine this month.
“We have procured 1 million doses of vaccine which will arrive on March 21) and then with the generosity of the Chinese government, another 400,000 will be given to us," Galvez said during the COVID-19 vaccination rollout at Qualimed Hospital in Santa Rosa City, Laguna.
An additional 38,400 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines arrived in Manila Sunday night, the second batch from the COVAX Facility, a global initiative led by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Moderna said it expected to reach a separate deal with the Philippine government and private sector groups to supply an additional 7 million doses, for a total of 20 million doses.
“We thank the government and the private sector for their collaboration to bring the COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna to the Philippines,” the company's chief executive officer Stéphane Bancel said.
“We appreciate the confidence in Moderna, and our mRNA platform demonstrated by the government of the Philippines. We remain committed to making our vaccine available on every continent to help end this global pandemic," he added.
Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to have a 94 percent efficacy rate in human trials.
Apart from Moderna, the Philippines has reserved 6 million doses of Janssen COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Johnson and Johnson, but there is no target delivery date yet, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez said.
Janssen is the lone COVID-19 vaccine which is administered with a single dose.
In January, the Food and Drug Administration approved the COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer Inc, and BioNTech SE, and that of AstraZeneca for emergency use.
The country started its COVID-19 vaccination program last March 1, with health workers being the first in line to be inoculated.
This came only a day after 600,000 doses of the CoronaVac vaccine from Sinovac donated by the Chinese government arrived on Feb. 28.
This was followed by the 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine donated by European nations and Australia under the COVAX Facility which arrived on March 4.
The country is slated to receive around 4.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines through the COVAX Facility, to be delivered until May.
Between March to May, the Philippines will receive about 1.5 million doses each month, Galvez said.
Various hospitals nationwide are conducting the vaccination of their health care workers, inoculating an average of 10,000 to 15,000 individuals daily.
“So far we are serving almost 100 hospitals," he said.
"Our priority for the vaccination, so far, are the COVID-19 referral hospitals, public hospitals, and private hospitals," he added.
Qualimed was the first hospital in the country to receive the initial batch of AstraZeneca vaccines. Around 300 health care workers were inoculated.
All Department of Health regional offices across the country have already received their initial supply of COVID-19 vaccines, Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said on Sunday.
Vega, in an interview on radio dzBB, said regional health offices are tasked to distribute the supply to different local public and private hospitals in their area.
Vega said the number of hospitals requesting the vaccines has been increasing gradually.
Also on Sunday, the chairperson of the House committee on health urged the DOH to intensify its information dissemination campaign on the government's national vaccination program. With Rio N. Araja