As nations around the world begin lining up for the roll-out of a range of coronavirus jabs, the Philippines has apparently decided to hedge its bets by purchasing four different vaccine brands.
The Southeast Asian country will procure Covid-19 vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac, the US-German Pfizer-BioNTech partnership, the UK’s AstraZeneca-Oxford University variant, as well as the jab created by Russia’s Gamaleya Center, known as Sputnik V.
The decision to diversify the country’s vaccine sources was announced by presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Tuesday.
All four of the vaccines have shown promising results in their trial phases. Sinovac’s ‘CoronaVac’ triggered a quick immune response in mid-stage trials, while the AstraZeneca-Oxford jab was declared to be up to 90 percent effective when given as a half dose followed by a full dose. However, two full doses resulted in only 62-percent efficacy.
Pfizer’s jab demonstrated 95-percent efficacy, while Russia’s Sputnik V was slightly more effective.
The Philippines government has already secured 2.6 million doses of the AstraZeneca through a tripartite agreement with the private sector. Sinovac and the Gamaleya Center are currently seeking to conduct Phase-Three clinical trials in the Philippines. In August, Sputnik V became the world’s first registered inoculation against coronavirus.
The Department of Health has already signaled that citizens will not be administered vaccines that have not received regulatory approval in the country.
Around 60 million Filipinos – more than half the country’s population of 106 million – are expected to be vaccinated against coronavirus, according to plans unveiled by the nation’s Covid-19 task force. Different provinces could end up receiving different brands of the vaccine. The mass vaccination program is expected to take between three to five years.
The government will take out loans totaling a staggering 73.2 billion Phillipine pesos ($1.52 trillion) to purchase the vaccines.
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