14 Jan 2021
On Thursday, the Philippines signed a second purchase agreement for 17 millionCOVID-19 vaccines provided by British drugs group AstraZeneca. Authorities are looking to distribute the vaccine to far-flung areas.
Lotis Ramin, country president of AstraZeneca said, “Astrazenica maintains our sure commitment to give access with no profit. Today, we are delighted to conclude 17 million doses which can reach millions of people."
The agreement was supported by over 300 companies and 39 local governments across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. AstraZeneca were hailed by the Philippines' vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr., who noted, "this partnership [that] will help us to save more than 8 million lives."
This adds to the 2.6 million doses that were previously agreed for in November. The Philippines has around 495,000 active coronavirus infections, the second highest caseload in Southeast Asia.
Moreover, 30 million COVID-19 doses from the Serum Institute of India have been agreed to as well as 25 million doses from China's Sinovac Biotech.
Chief Implementer of the National Task Force COVID-19, Galvez said, “This is what we can deploy in far-flung areas because it does not require a minus [zero] cold chain.” Sinovac, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and Novavax vaccines do not need to be stored in ultra-cold storages.
Furthermore, the agreement gives the "option to purchase an additional 10 million doses."