BGC, TAGUIG CITY — The Philippine government has now completed contracts with five vaccine manufacturers that would provide the country with a secure and steady supply of anti-COVID 19 jabs this year.

This was disclosed by National Task Force against COVID 19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr during a visit to the city’s newly-launched mega vaccination hub at the SM Aura on Friday, April 16.

According to Galvez, the procurement contracts for vaccines coming from Sinovac, Astrazenca, Moderna, Novavax, and Gamaleya have been finalized and signed.

He added that the country has secured 25 million doses from Sinovac, whose delivery began last month.

Galvez said the supply agreement for Johnson and Johnson is due to be completed soon, as the government has inked a deal with Moderna for 13 million doses.

The private sector, he said, has also procured seven million doses, as initial deliveries for the vaccines will begin by May or June.

Galvez said 30 million vaccine doses from Novavax have likewise been committed to the Philippines, with an additional 15 million doses being negotiated by the private sector and local government units (LGUs) with the India-based manufacturer.

He said the 17 million doses of Astrazeneca vaccines, which were procured by the private sector and LGUs, are also scheduled to be delivered to the country beginning June.

Galvez said the government has also confirmed the procurement for 20 million doses of Gamaleya’s Sputnik V vaccines in two separate financing contracts. The first tranche is expected to be delivered starting April with 500,000 doses.

Meanwhile, the vaccine czar said the Philippines is planning to procure around 25 to 40 million Pfizer vaccine doses.

According to Galvez, the government is now in talks with the management of the American pharmaceutical company to iron out the vaccine’s logistical requirements.

He said the discussions with Pfizer also covered the vaccines to be supplied through the COVAX wherein 2.4 million doses are expected to arrive from the facility hopefully this quarter.

In its earlier commitment, COVAX also intended in shipping in around four million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to the country between April to early May.

“Very significant ‘yung mga volume na nine-negotiate natin. While other [manufacturers] will deliver this quarter to early third quarter, our main volume will arrive by August, and that’s the time we will open the vaccination to the general public,” he said.

Preparing for the long haul

Following a series of consultations with experts including former Secretary of Health Manuel Dayrit, Galvez said the government is now preparing for the “long haul” utilizing a multi-pronged approach.

“This preparation includes enabling all pandemic functions, provision of added protection and vaccination, and building resilience through increasing hospital bed capacity,” he said.

Galvez said the first component of this approach entails the further scaling up of the government’s pandemic response through its Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Recover (PDITR) Strategy.

He said that interventions along this line of effort will be carried out by the Department of Health, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and other line government agencies. The main objective is to prepare the mindset of everybody that the virus will still stay for one or two more years and we need to manage and contain the surge of cases until the great majority of our people are vaccinated and protected.

The second component, Galvez said, is to provide an added layer of protection to Filipinos by helping them boost their immune systems by providing medicine packages to the public including face masks, vitamins, home care service system and telemedicine following the Peru and India model. Part of the plan is to continue the aggressive implementation of the nation’s vaccine program to achieve herd immunity at targeted priority areas soonest possible time.

The third component, he said, is focused on building the country’s pandemic resilience by increasing the capacity of intensive care units (ICUs) snd big ERs and adding more beds for moderate and severe cases in hospitals, and the construction of additional temporary treatment and monitoring facilities.

As of April 12,655 infrastructure facilities composed of modular hospitals, quarantine and isolation facilities, and offsite dormitories with a total 24,128 bed capacity have been completed and turned over to local government units nationwide.

Galvez said the government will continue to build additional anti-COVID facilities and mobilize human resources throughout the country with the assistance of the AFP, PNP and Philippine Coast Guard. ###