Manila able to secure 25 million doses

The country will be able to secure between four to 25 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from Moderna Inc and Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings Inc, its ambassador to Washington said.

The US companies were ready to supply the vaccines from the third quarter of 2021, Philippine Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez said in a statement yesterday, if his government found their proposals acceptable.

“We are hoping our government will consider the promising candidates of Moderna and Arcturus for inclusion in our country’s pool of anti-Covid-19 vaccines, ” Romualdez said.

The US Food and Drug Administration is expected to grant Moderna emergency use authorisation soon.

Arcturus expects to start distributing its vaccine in the first quarter of next year after early stage trials showed promising results.

Moderna and Arcturus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

At a news conference, Philippine Health Ministry Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire welcomed signs of progress in the negotiations but said each vaccine candidate would need to get regulatory approval to ensure safety and efficacy.

The Philippines plans to buy 25 million doses of a vaccine supplied by China’s Sinovac Biotech for delivery by March.

In addition, the private sector agreed last month to acquire 2.6 million shots of a vaccine developed by UK-based AstraZeneca in the country’s first supply deal for a Covid-19 vaccine.

The South-East Asian nation had missed out on an opportunity to buy 10 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine for delivery in January, Romualdez said.

With 454,447 infections and 8,850 deaths, the Philippines has reported the second-highest number of Covid-19 infections and casualties in South-East Asia, next to Indonesia. — Reuters

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