30 Million Doses of Corona Vaccine in Philippines

Manila, Jan 10 (AFP/APP): The Philippines has secured 30 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine developed by US drugmaker Novavax, officials said Sunday, as the country braces for a surge in infections after a huge religious event.

This is only the second vaccine deal signed by the national government, which has faced growing criticism for its slowness in procuring jabs for the archipelago where nearly half a million infections have been recorded.

It hopes to secure 148 million doses this year from seven companies — enough for around 70 percent of its population. But the government has warned it will depend on global supply.

In an agreement with the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, the Philippines will buy 30 million doses of the jab developed by Novavax, the government’s vaccine task force said in a statement.

The price has not been finalized but the vaccine will be available from the third quarter. The Novavax vaccine is in late-stage human trials in the United States, Mexico and Britain and is “expected to be approved for use by international regulators”, the statement said. Previously, the Philippines signed a deal with AstraZeneca for 2.6 million doses of its vaccine developed with Oxford University.

The government hopes to secure another 30 million from the company using public and private funding. No vaccine has been approved by the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is required before it can be rolled out across the country of 110 million people.

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