READY FOR STORAGE. Workers shut the door of the truck containing the newly delivered 1,877,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine before leaving the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 in Parañaque City on Friday (Jan. 21, 2022) on its way to a storage facility. As of January 14, the Philippines has administered 117,337,626 doses of anti-Covid-19 vaccines nationwide, with 54,423,286 Filipinos fully inoculated. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Jan 22 (Mabuhay) — Vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid 19) may be made available commercially in the Philippine market by 2023.

The government, however, will still provide free shots to children, senior citizens, and the indigent population, even if the vaccines will already be for sale by then, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 said.

“Kung magkakaroon ng commercialization maybe next year, meron pa rin tayo. Definitely, like ‘yung sa cholera, tigdas, atsaka ‘yung polio. Meron pa rin portion tayo sa gobyerno na ibibigay lalo na sa mga bata, matatanda at ‘dun sa mga poor communities na hindi kayang bumili ng bakuna (If there will be commercialization maybe next year, we will still have free vaccines, definitely, like the free shots of cholera, measles, and polio. We still have a portion to provide from the government, especially to children, the elderly and for poor communities that cannot afford to buy vaccines),” Galvez said in an interview during the launch of the vaccination rollout at QualiMed Clinic in Makati City on Friday.

Galvez said the government will also push through with a centralized procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.

“When we talked to the manufacturers, they said that they are more interested in selling their vaccines to the national government,” he said, citing faster transactions as orders are in bulk.

Makati Mayor Abby Binay, who also graced the event, said the local government is considering buying Covid-19 vaccines for its citizens once they become available commercially.

The country’s Food and Drug Administration has so far approved Emergency Use Authorization for all Covid-19 vaccines. (MNS)

READ NEXT: PH, SoKor armies to further strengthen collaboration