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Galvez expects funds release for COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 15

November 26, 2020 - Thursday 7:11 PM by PNA

Article Banner Image National Policy against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. (Screengrabbed from PCOO)

MANILA – National Policy against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on Wednesday said the funds for the acquisition of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine will be available by December.

"We are expecting [that] before December 15 maa-unlock natin ang mga pondo (we can unlock the funds)—so rest assured na yung pera na gagamitin natin dito ay magiging prepared na po (we can unlock the funds. So, rest assured that the money for this will be prepared)," he said in Laging Handa public briefing.

Galvez said the government is doing its best to acquire equitable access to the vaccines for immunization of at least 60 million Filipinos.

"Kumukuha po tayo ng (We are getting) portfolio of access in different vaccine producers and at saka mga countries na pinagmulan po ng mga vaccine para at least meron po tayong five to six countries na pagkukunan po nito (so that at least we could get vaccines from at least five to six producing countries)," Galvez said.

While the government expects several clinical trials for the Covid-19 vaccine beginning December, Galvez said the results of these trials may be until the first quarter of 2021.

He said possible mass roll out of the vaccination in the country is expected to happen on "first quarter or middle of the year 2021."

“Ang (the) best-case scenario is on the second quarter, ang worst case scenario o ang tinatawag nating realistic scenario ay (the worst-case scenario or the realistic scenario will be at) end of the year or early 2022,” he said.

He said the government seeks to vaccinate 60 to 70 million Filipinos against Covid-19 in three to five years.

"We can only vaccinate 20 to 30 million a year," he said.

Galvez said the government has pursued various financing options to ensure the acquisition of safe, effective, and cost-efficient doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, Galvez said the government will prioritize medical and other healthcare front-liners, vulnerable sectors, marginalized individuals as well as the uniformed personnel and other servicemen, once the initial implementation of the vaccination program starts.

"Meron na po tayong listahan ng more than 35 million Filipinos ang nasa priority listing yun po ay binigay ng ating Department of Health [DOH] base din po sa guidance ng ating mahal na presidente (We already have the list of more than 35 million Filipinos under the priority listing provided by the Department of Health based on the guidance of President Rodrigo Duterte)," he said.

To effectively roll out the immunization program once the vaccine becomes available, Galvez said the government intends to conduct initial vaccination in Covid-19 high risks areas including Metro Manila, Region 4-A, Region 3, Cebu City, Davao City, and Cagayan de Oro.

"First, it would geographical, in order to contain and achieve full recovery. Secondly, it would be sectoral to at least we can comply with the guidance of the president to prioritize healthcare workers, soldiers, and vulnerable communities," Galvez said.

To date, the cities of Caloocan, Davao and Quezon as well as the provinces of Laguna and Quezon have the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country based on the November 4 data.

Galvez said these places are usually the hub centers of its neighboring cities and municipalities, making it possible to have a spike of Covid-19 cases in these areas.

He said the government continues to intensify the testing, isolation, contact tracing, and active case finding, to prevent another surge of Covid-19 cases.  Lade Jean Kabagani