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Local Roundup: • P75B vaccines for teens, adults • Razon's Moderna • Rollout revved

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on Thursday said the government would likely need around P75 billion to purchase vaccines for approximately 15 million teenagers and 70 million adults in the country.

"With the announcement that some countries will inoculate teenagers and the expectation that we eventually will follow suit, we are anticipating an additional expenditure of about P20 billion to vaccinate the approximately 15 million kids age 12 to 17," Dominguez said in a message to reporters.

As the government is also anticipating to acquire booster shots for next year for about 85 million teenagers and adults, Dominguez said the government would be needing "another P55 billion."

"To fund these but still maintain an acceptable fiscal deficit, we most likely will need to reallocate funds," Dominguez said.

Dominguez said the vaccination for teenagers might start this year. "But the final decision will be with the health authorities," he said.

Moderna vaccines

Port magnate Enrique Razon said the private sector would receive some 70,000 COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna next month, which account for only 1 percent of the total 7 million vaccines conglomerates have ordered from the pharmaceutical giant.

Moderna said the vaccines would arrive by the week of June 21, Razon told ANC's Headstart.

The private sector has paid $93 million (P4.45 billion) for these vaccines, he said.

"The government will have to pay more because the government's order is 13 million [jabs]," he said.

The Philippines earlier allowed private firms to enter into a tripartite agreement so that they could procure vaccines for their respective employees.

AstraZeneca

Malacañang allayed concerns over the pace of the country’s vaccination rollout with 2 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine set to expire in one to two months.

Citing the Department of Health, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque assured that the 2 million AstraZeneca vaccines will be used up before they expire.

“There’s no problem because the expiration date is in July. It’s only May. We only need one month to finish those 2 million doses of AstraZeneca,” he said in a press briefing from PTV-4.

Earlier, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said the government would deploy 1.5 million doses of the vaccines as first shots, while the remaining shots will be prioritized as second doses for individuals who received their first shot in March.

Of the more than 2 million AstraZeneca vaccines that the Philippines received through the WHO-led COVAX Facility on May 8, some 1.5 million doses will expire on June 30, 2021, while 525,600 will expire on July 31, 2021.

Sinopharm’s EUL

Meanwhile, Roque said the Philippines was still determined to include China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in its vaccine portfolio.

Roque said he was optimistic that Sinopharm would be cleared for emergency use in the Philippines after the World Health Organization included the Chinese vaccine in its emergency use listing.

On May 5, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the withdrawal of Sinopharm over concerns that he received his first dose of the vaccine despite its lack of emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines.

Duterte’s jab was covered by the compassionate permit use given to the Presidential Security Group hospital by the FDA.

Sputnik V

The Philippine government has received 15,000 second doses of Sputnik V vaccines against COVID-19 from Russia.

The vaccines arrived past 9 p.m. at the NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City on Wednesday.

Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo said the 15,000 doses sent were Component 2 or the Sputnik V's second dose.

The FDA said the delivered vaccines made by Russia's Gamaleya Research Institute must be stored inside a dark place with a temperature not exceeding -18°C.

The drug is only fit for use for six months, the FDA said. The drugs can also be administered to individuals aged 18 years old and above.

Topics: Vaccine , COVID-19 , Teens , Department of Health , Sputnik V , Sinopharm , AstraZeneca , Moderna , Enrique Razon
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