Philippines, Moderna reach supply deal for 13 million COVID-19 doses

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 7) — American drugmaker Moderna Inc. will soon supply over 13 million doses through a bilateral deal with the Philippine government, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. announced on Sunday.

Galvez said the biotech firm is just awaiting the final draft of a bilateral deal with the Philippine government, while a multilateral agreement for another seven million doses involving the private sector will likely be finalized next week.

"Nagkaroon na ng marathon meetings...iyong bilateral agreement na 13 million at 7 million na multilateral agreement kasi tinitingnan ang [private groups], national government and also some LGUs, kailangan maayos. 'Yung bilateral for signing na hinihintay yung final draft, yung private sector most likely sa Tuesday maayos," Galvez told the media during the ceremonial vaccination of medical frontliners at QualiMed Hospital in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

[Translation: We've had marathon meetings already....we have the bilateral agreement for the 13 million doses and the 7 million under the multilateral agreement, but everything is still being finalized with the private groups, the national government, and also some LGUs, and we have to smooth it all out. For the bilateral deal we are just waiting for the final draft, for the private sector, it will likely be done by Tuesday.]

Moderna first made the announcement in a statement on Saturday and noted they are also working on an emergency use authorization for the vaccine. So far, the Philippines has only granted emergency use approval for the vaccines of China's Sinovac Biotech, British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca, and American drugmaker Pfizer.

"We appreciate the confidence in Moderna, and our mRNA platform demonstrated by the government of the Philippines," Moderna's CEO Stéphane Bancel said in the company announcement. "We remain committed to making our vaccine available on every continent to help end this global pandemic.”

According to Galvez, the delivery of the Moderna vaccines will start in the middle of the year. Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel "Babe" Romualdez previously said the first batch will likely be shipped "by either end of May or early part of June."

READ: PH eyes access to Moderna vaccine doses by May or June 

The country has so far received China's donation of 600,000 Sinovac doses and the initial 487,200 AstraZeneca doses through the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility. The remaining 38,400 doses that will complete the promised 525,600 doses promised by the British-Swedish drugmaker will arrive via a commercial flight on Sunday evening.