US committed to give Philippines access to COVID-19 vaccines

MANILA, Nov 18 (Mabuhay)– The United States has committed to give the Philippines access to COVID-19 vaccines once they become available after an American biotechnology firm Moderna reported positive results from its late-stage vaccine trial.

It was US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who informed Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. about Washington’s commitment to vaccine access, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

“We have firm commitments from the United States,” Roque told a news conference in Cagayan, adding China had promised to supply the Philippines with vaccines while British drugmaker AstraZeneca had vowed to ship doses for developing countries.

Moderna said on Monday that its vaccine candidate was 94.5% effective at preventing people from catching the virus, just days after rival Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said their potential vaccine was found to be 90% effective.

The companies attributed the results to preliminary data from their respective phase 3 studies.

Last week, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said the Philippines could access the US-developed COVID-19 vaccines as early as the first quarter of 2021.

He said Pfizer had assured that the vaccine will not be sold to the Philippines at an expensive price.

Romualdez also said the Philippines will not be asked to give a downpayment to ensure access to the vaccines.

The Philippines plans to purchase an initial 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for at least 25 million Filipinos next year. (MNS)

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