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Newly signed AstraZeneca deal now allows LGUs and firms to buy their own vaccines, says Galvez

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Jan 15, 2021 7:39 am Updated Jan 15, 2021 9:26 am

The government has signed a tripartite deal with British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca to allow private firms and local government units to purchase COVID-19 vaccines on their own at the cheapest price, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. said.  

“With the government’s approach, LGUs and the private sector can now procure their own doses through tripartite agreements,” Galvez told a Senate hearing today Jan. 15 regarding the government’s vaccination strategy.

Galvez said the AstraZeneca agreement provides 17 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. 

Galvez said the arrangement is that the private sector will donate 50% of the doses to the national government to be given for the poor, while the balance will be allocated to select private sector employees, such as those in the company frontlines like cashiers and merchandisers.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said that through the deal, they were able to secure AstraZeneca vaccines for $10, or about P480, per two shots.

In December last year, over 30 companies, which includes known blue-chip firms, announced the donation of a pooled P600 million to secure vaccines under the tripartite initiative.

Concepcion said that through the private sector, a host of LGUs were eventually added into the fold to be catered by AstraZeneca.

Sinovac vaccine
Asked by Sen. Nancy Binay if the deal with China’s Sinovac for the procurement of 25 million doses was already final, Galvez said it still isn’t.

Responding to questions about the efficacy rate of Sinovac, which was reported to be much less than the vaccines from the other drug manufacturers, Galvez said these findings are still “unofficial.”

“The reported efficacy rate of Sinovac is unofficial. In Turkey, it’s 91.1% and also in Brazil. They will consolidate these clinical trials to have the official pronouncement,” said Galvez.

It has been reported recently that a partner institute in Brazil has reported that Sinovac’s vaccine, dubbed CoronaVac, has a reported efficacy rate of 50.4%, which was just a hairline above the needed threshold to pass regulatory muster. Researchers in Brazil, on the other hand, reported a 78% efficacy in their clinical trials.

“Why are we having an agreement with Sinovac when the other vaccines have much higher efficacy rates and probably at a lower price?” Sen. Franklin Drilon asked Galvez. 

Galvez stressed that the results are not yet final and that the vaccine will also need to be vetted by the Food and Drug Administration.