PH eyes to seal deal for Sinovac's 25 million vaccine doses this week

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 14) — The government is hoping to finalize the deal with Chinese vaccine manufacturer Sinovac Biotech to supply the Philippines with 25 million doses of coronavirus vaccines by March 2021, appointed czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Monday.

He said the meeting with Sinovac officials last week was substantial, with Philippine officials laying down the country's demands.

"We have already conveyed our needs. Sabi namin 25 million for 2021, Sinovac only... We want to finalize this week our final negotiations so we can firm up the head of terms and also we are looking at the exact time of distribution," he said in a media briefing.

Once the agreement is secured, the National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer said the company is confident that its vaccine candidate CoronaVac will arrive in the Philippines in April, but authorities are negotiating to have it by March.

Aside from Sinovac, Galvez said the Philippines is also looking at procuring other China-made vaccines from Sinopharm and CanSino. But he said they are leaning towards prioritizing the deal with Sinovac due to affordability and production capability.

"Three times lower siya sa price ng Sinopharm. Capable siya mag-produce para sa atin, kung magkaroon ng magandang negotiation, is 20 million," the official added.

Criticized for the Philippine government's penchant for picking drugs made in China, envoy Chito Sta. Romana said the confidence comes from the fact that the country has vaccinated about one million people using at least 3 shots — two from CNBG and one by Sinovac. But he stressed that these manufacturers still need to secure the approval of the Food and Drug Administration in the Philippines before their vaccines can be administered in the country.

"The basis of confidence is based on the Chinese experience and the experience in other countries. But this has to be validated by our own health authorities," Philippine Ambassador to China Chito Sta. Romana said in the same briefing.

He said that China's offer to prioritize the Philippines for supply of coronavirus vaccines is meant to raise its global standing and seek to win over Filipinos with little trust in the nation. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, meanwhile, said that China is using its vaccine supplies to pressure the Philippines on issues such as the West Philippine Sea dispute is "almost nil."