PH on track in COVID-19 vaccine roll out – Panelo

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 5 Jan) – The government remains on track with its target to roll out the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in the country by the first or second quarter of the year, according to Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo. Photo from the FB page of the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson

In a press conference here Tuesday, Panelo assured that the vaccine cluster headed by Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. has been exerting all efforts to facilitate the delivery of the vaccines the soonest possible time and eventually launch the vaccination program.

“According to Secretary Galvez, based on the negotiations, it will most likely come out by March or April, so within the first going to the second quarter,” he said.

Panelo acknowledged that the government is currently in a tight race with other countries to get a significant allocation of the COVID-19 vaccines from authorized manufacturers.

He said drug companies mainly favored their own countries in the allocation and delivery of the vaccines.

About 85 percent of the vaccines were obtained or allocated for “wealthy and powerful” countries and the government is hoping to get enough share from the remaining supplies, he said.

But Panelo said the government has been talking with at least five manufacturers for the purchase of the vaccines.

“Since there is a problem with the available supplies, we need to continue negotiating with those that can deliver regardless of the price,” he said.

Galvez, the chief implementer of the National Task Force against COVID-19, earlier said vaccines coming from China and Russia may be rolled out in the country as early as the first quarter of the year.

He was referring to the COVID-19 vaccines being developed by Sinovac Biotech and Gamaleya Research Institute.

The government and the private sector had signed a supply agreement with British firm AstraZeneca and is working on another deal with the United States-based Pfizer. (MindaNews)