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PH signs supply deal for 30 million doses of Novavax vaccine

The Philippines has signed a supply agreement securing 30 million doses of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine,vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr announced on Tuesday, March 16.

"We have signed a supply agreement in which Serum Institute of India will supply 30 million doses of Novavax to our country, most likely [arriving] third quarter and fourth quarter [of 2021]," Galvez said in Filipino in a virtual press briefing.

The agreement was a fruit of his trip to India last March 12. Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, produces vaccines of American pharmaceutical firm Novavax.

Novavax claims its vaccine, known as NVX-CoV2373, is 86.3% effective against the B117 variant, more commonly known as the COVID-19 United Kingdom variant. It is also supposedly 100% effective in preventing severe symptoms and death.

The Philippines' Food and Drug Administration is yet to issue Emergency Use Authorization for the Novavax vaccine, however.

Galvez said the country is also waiting for the jab to get emergency use approval in the UK and the United States, which both have mature vaccine regulatory agencies.

More vaccines arriving in weeks

Filipinos can expect around 2.4 million vaccine doses arriving in March and April, said Galvez.

These include 400,000 more Sinovac doses donated by the Chinese government, set to arrive March 22; and 1 million Sinovac doses purchased by the Department of Health, slated to arrive on March 28.

Either in late April or early May, nearly 1 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses secured through the COVAX Facility, will also be flown to the Philippines, said Galvez, citing World Health Organization representatives.

Including the vaccines already in the Philippines and being distributed, this would lead to a total of 3.5 million doses, enough to vaccinate 1.7 million health workers. The government estimates 1.8 million health workers in the country.

Once all health workers get jabs, the government will prioritize the vaccinations of the elderly. Read about the government's priority list here. – 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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