The country has ordered 40 million coronavirus vaccine doses from Pfizer Inc, the biggest supply agreement as it fights one of the region’s worst outbreaks.
The term sheet for the order had been signed, Carlito Galvez, who leads the nation’s vaccination programme, said in a text message on Monday.
The deal gives a boost to the Philippines, which is targeting to achieve herd immunity this year to help an economy that remained in recession last quarter.
But while the country expected over 200 million vaccine doses to arrive this year, recruiting as many as 50,000 health workers to administer shots in key cities posed a challenge, Galvez said in a briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Most doctors and nurses are still treating Covid-19 patients in hospitals, ” he said, following a surge in infections that started mid-March.
The government planned to hire midwives, pharmacists, paramedics and medicals students to administer the vaccines, Galvez said.
Inoculating workers and the poor would start this month, he added.
On Monday, Duterte warned that he may impose another “strict lockdown” should the public disregard health protocols. — Bloomberg