Govt inks deal with AstraZeneca for Covid vaccines

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FILE PHOTO: Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

The government signed on Thursday signed a tripartite agreement with local government units (LGUs) and private companies to secure 17 million doses of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines from British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

President Rodrigo Duterte welcomed the development.

In a recorded speech aired during the ceremonial signing of the agreement under “A Dose of Hope” project, Duterte described the deal as a “true showcase of unity of purpose and principled partnership benefiting our public.”

“This is bayanihan (cooperation) at work. To everyone involved in the ‘A Dose of Hope’ project, I congratulate you on this achievement. To all who helped and continue to grow this tripartite partnership – Maraming, maraming salamat po (Thank you very much),” he said.

Duterte commended the business community and the LGUs for ramping up support for the country’s fight against Covid-19.

“Together, we can ensure a safe, sure, and secure rollout of our national immunization program. Today, let us reaffirm our vow to ourselves and renew our guarantee to our people: From approval to vaccine administration – laging nasa sentro ang kalusugan at kaligtasan ng bawat Pilipino (The priority will be the health and safety of every Filipino),” he said.

As the world continues to grapple with the impact of Covid-19, he expressed hope that national recovery is within sight.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel. National recovery is within sight,” he said. “We now have the weapon to defeat this virus, the vaccine. Let’s win this war and save lives and livelihoods.”

The ceremonial signing of the tripartite deal to secure 17 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines was led by Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, and AstraZeneca Philippines country president Lotis Ramin on Thursday afternoon.

Several LGUs have already signed deals with the national government and AstraZeneca to secure vaccines for their constituents.

Galvez on Wednesday night said that vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd., the US’s Pfizer, and United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca may arrive in the country as early as February.

He identified the three vaccines based on the current status of negotiations that the government is holding with pharmaceutical companies and multilateral initiatives, including international group GAVI’s COVAX facility.

Last Tuesday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the government has allocated P75 billion for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines for 57 million Filipinos.

He said several LGUs have also allocated funds to buy Covid-19 vaccines for their 13 million constituents.

“When you add the 13 million Filipinos that will be covered by LGU and private sector vaccination efforts, a total of 70 million Filipinos should be able to receive the Covid-19 vaccine,” Nograles said. CURRENTPH

 

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