Envoy assures PH will get US supply of COVID-19 vaccines

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Pharmaceutical company Pfizer, and its partner BioNTech, said a study showed their experimental vaccine is more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 symptoms. (PHOTO: Pfizer/Businesswire)

American pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. promised it will provide the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines once approved for distribution, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manel “Babe” Romualdez said Monday.

This came after Pfizer, one of the world’s premier biopharmaceutical companies, and its partner BioNTech SE reported that the vaccine they manufactured was 90% effective in an initial study during the third phase of its clinical trials. 

“As long as they get approval and we tell them what we need, they’re ready to supply it,” said Romualdez in a video shown to the Malacañang Press Corps on Tuesday.

He said the vaccine will cost at US$5 a shot or over P240.

Nations around the world are scrambling to find the vaccine to COVID-19. Russia’s sovereign wealth fund also announced on Wednesday that the Sputnik V vaccine is 92% effective based on interim trial results.

President Rodrigo Duterte, however, said during a public briefing on Tuesday that the Philippines will borrow US$300 million (around P14.5 billion) to purchase the COVID-19 vaccines. The poor and needy will be given priority access to the vaccines, Duterte added.

Romualdez noted that the vaccine may possibly be available in the Philippines by the first quarter of 2021. But Duterte had tempered expectations, saying the vaccine may be available at a later date since the US will prioritize their nation first.

As of Nov. 11, the Philippines reached a total of 401,416 COVID-19 cases. This is comprised of 1,672 newly-detected infections,  7,710 deaths, 362,217 recoveries, and 31,489 active cases,  according to the latest count of the Department of Health (DOH).