Philippines eyes 195M vaccine doses

The Philippines expects to get 194.89 million coronavirus vaccine doses as the government and the private sector buys shots enough to cover 100.5 million Filipinos, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said. 

The National Government has borrowed $1.126 billion from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to buy 105.65 million vaccine doses. These were on top of the 15.5 million shots it ordered using P8.42 billion from state coffers, he told lawmakers at a budget hearing on Thursday evening. 

The country also expects 48.84 million vaccines worth $503 million donated by bilateral partners, including those under a global initiative for equal access. 

“We don’t have to worry about the money,” Mr. Dominguez told senators in Filipino. “Everything has been financed.” 

The Department of Finance got loans from the three multilateral lenders in March — $500 million from the World bank, $400 million from the ADB and $300 million from the AIIB. Under the agreements, the banks will pay vaccine manufacturers directly and deliver the supplies to the government. 

The private sector and local government units are working to obtain 24.9 million vaccine doses worth $284.5 million. The Finance chief said the total would be enough to vaccinate 100.5 million Filipinos. 

The country expects 50 million vaccines to be delivered every month starting September, he said, adding that all doses should arrive and would be given out by January. 

Mr. Dominguez said 48.89 million vaccine doses have delivered since the government’s vaccine rollout started in March. Forty-two million more shots are scheduled for delivery by Sept. 30. He said 103.59 million shots would arrive in the last quarter. 

The government has allotted P45.37 billion under the proposed P5.024-trillion national budget for next year to buy booster shots. 

The government seeks to inoculate 70% of Filipino adults by year-end to achieve herd immunity. 

About 16.5% of the country’s population had been vaccinated as of Aug. 25, according to the Our World in Data website. 

The Philippines could only reach herd immunity by May 2022 based on its vaccination pace, Maybank Kim Eng said in a research note last week. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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