National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 chief implementer, Carlito Galvez, also the designated vaccine czar, said the country is now on the final stage of negotiations with COVID-19 vaccine companies such as Novavax, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnsons & Johnsons, Sinovac, and Gamaleya.

“We hope to close the deal with these companies this month. At ito po ay nakikita po natin na kapag nagkaroon po tayo ng very effective na negotiation ay mayroon po tayong mahigit na 148 [million] na magkakaroon po ng doses,” Galvez said in Laging Handa Public Briefing on Wednesday, January 6.

Galvez stressed, the country will receive fully subsidized doses for 23 million Filipinos through the COVAX facility.

“Based on our current negotiations, we will be able to purchase at least 148 million doses from more or less seven manufacturers. However, it will be dependent on the global supply,” Galvez said.

Other countries have already procured more than 80% of the global supply, he added.

“Sa ilalim po ng Philippine National Vaccine Roadmap, babakunahan po natin ang humigit-kumulang na 50 to 70 million na Filipinos sa loob ng taong ito,” the vaccine czar cited.

The government’s national vaccination program aims to provide safe, effective, and free vaccines for all Filipinos. The vaccine roadmap framework emphasizes ‘safety and efficacy’ as key considerations in providing COVID-19 vaccine to the public.

Galvez also announced that the Philippines and Colombia will be the first two countries to take part in WHO Solidarity Vaccine Trial.

“Fifteen thousand volunteers from the Philippines will be participating in the said trial,” Galvez added.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Philippine General Hospital (PGH) will lead the implementation and full evaluation of the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.

“Marami po tayong pagkukunan ng bakuna sa iba’t ibang mga manufacturers. Ito po ay upang matiyak na magkakaroon tayo ng sapat na bakuna para sa lahat, particularly this year 2021,” Galvez said.

The vaccine czar stressed that the implementation of a national vaccine program is not the sole responsibility of the government, and the whole-of-nation approach shall be adopted to ensure integrated implementation of the COVID-19 immunization program in the country. (PIA-NCR)