Earliest availability of Western-based vaccine is in May – Galvez

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National Task Force (NTF) COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., who is also the vaccine czar, has said that the earliest possible delivery of Western-based COVID-19 vaccine is in May.

Secretary Galvez made the statement during President Rodrigo Duterte’s meeting with Cabinet members, infectious diseases experts, and members of the academe to tackle various concerns on COVID-19, particularly the recently discovered coronavirus strain, at the Heroes Hall in Malacañang Palace, December 26.

“Sir, the Western-based vaccine, sir, the earliest sir is May, sir. So we are already ano — we are already 85 percent of the contract or 20 million for the government and 10 million for the private sector,” Secertary Galvez said.

“Then another US-based – India-based vaccine, we might be having our contract signed by January. Pfizer also by January, sir. And also Moderna, we just have an initial arrangement for 20 million doses. So all in all sir if we will get Novavax, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, J&J, and also Moderna, we might have more or less 80 million doses,” he said.

He also added that “at the evening of 24 and also in the morning, the Gamaleya of Russia also negotiated for another 25 million.”

“And for them, the efficacy of Gamaleya is 91.5 percent for the first dose and the second dose is 95. So we are asking them to submit the ano — the clinical trial number 3. And we hope that if we will be having all this ano — this contract closed by January, the earliest ano sir — the earliest is, if we will prove that Gamaleya is very safe and effective, they will produce it on February,” he said.

“On Sinovac, sir, we’re still negotiating with the Sinovac Hong Kong. But for now, sir, Usec. Borje will make an arrangement again with the ambassador. So there is no ano sir na there is no truth ‘yung lumalabas na balita na we are focusing on only on few vaccine,” he said.

Secretary Galvez also explained that standards set by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank will be followed in the procurement of vaccines.

“We have 1.3 billion that have been allocated by World Bank and ADB for the stringent qualification of every vaccine that will come here,” Galvez said.

“Sa ADB po, kailangan po na World Health — WHO-accredited ang vaccine na papasok sa atin. Pangalawa sir is kailangang may stringent regulation coming from US — either US, UK, or other stringent countries,” he explained. “And then ‘yung W — ‘yung ano po, ‘yung World Bank po, mas mataas. Either two or three SRAs at saka kailangan po talaga dumaan po sa vaccine expert panel po natin at saka po sa ating FDA bago po natin makuha.”

“Kaya kami po na gusto naming i-announce sa ating mga kababayan na ‘yung pinipili po natin na ano na vaccine is very safe and very effective considering that they will follow our stringent procedures, and at the same, they will follow the stringent procedures of our fund manager and fund ano — ‘yung tinatawag nating procurement agent, which is ADB and the World Bank, and the AIIB,” he said.