PH assured of 8 million Covid vaccine doses from India

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About 8 million doses of the Covaxin vaccine for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) produced by India’s Bharat Biotech are expected to arrive in the Philippines by end of May 2021.

“In summary we will have 8 million by the end of next month, that’s the Covaxin, (it’s) private sector and local government units-supported,” Philippine Ambassador to India Ramon Bagatsing, Jr. said in a Laging Handa briefing on Tuesday.

Bagatsing said manufacturers had been doubling their vaccine production and while the demand is also high in India, he is confident the delivery would be within the target date. India is currently experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases.

“The 8 million doses that will be arriving, hopefully by the month, Bharat already committed to it,” he said.

Procured through a tripartite agreement among Bharat Biotech, the local government units, and the private sector, the envoy said a Covaxin ranges from $15 to $20 per dose.

“Bharat can only sell from $15 to $20 per dose and I think the distributors (in the Philippines) were able to buy it cheaper than $15, so it is affordable, it is adequate and available. I hope that we get through all the regulatory approvals so that it can be rolled out, it can be shipped, and it can be there by end of the month,” he said.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the emergency use authorization for Covaxin, an inactivated vaccine that has an efficacy rate of 81 percent.

Aside from Covaxin, Bagatsing said the national government is also looking at purchasing around 30 million doses of Covavax from India’s Serum Institute.

“If everything goes well, that’s 30 million that the Philippine government is buying and hopefully it will be delivered by September this year. So that’s 30 million and possibly a few other millions for the private sector,” he said.

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