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Philippines ordering vaccines good for 90M people in case of 'slippage, delays'

The Philippines is preparing to order enough coronavirus vaccines for 92 million doses, 20 million more than its vaccination program target, in anticipation of delays and other complications, said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

He gave this figure in a report to President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, February 1, at the Malacañang Golf Clubhouse during a meeting with other Cabinet members.

"We have negotiated for 92 million because we read in the newspapers about slippage, delays in delivery. There's delays in Europe, there's delays in the US, so to be safe we are negotiating more than what we need of 70 million," said Dominguez.

"We really expect delays but delay is not our fault because we have the money and we are ready, the delay is in the manufacturing," he continued.

The government and private sector are already in negotiations to bring the Philippines' total vaccine orders to 178 million doses, said Dominguez. Since most COVID-19 vaccines come in two doses, these would be enough for 89 million Filipinos.

Funding for vaccines

As it stands, the country has locked in some 146 million doses of vaccines – 40 million from the World Health Organization-led COVAX Facility and some 106 million to 108 million from direct arrangements with various pharmaceutical firms.

Dominguez said the deals with firms will be paid for using loans from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, cumulatively worth $1.2 billion.

Meanwhile, the Philippines paid $84 million to participate in the COVAX scheme, said Dominguez.

The 146 million doses would be enough to vaccinate all Filipino adults, which the finance chief said number around 70 million. The remaining 40 million in the country's population are one to 18 year-olds who may not be allowed to get vaccine shots for safety reasons. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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