No state monopoly in COVID-19 vaccine procurement – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   January 13, 2021   •   271

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has denied claims that the national government is building any monopoly on the procurement of vaccines against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), saying local government units (LGU) can purchase vaccines to be administered to their constituents.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the remark after some lawmakers questioned why the national government would not allow LGUs and private firms to deal directly with drug makers.

Roque said LGUs are allowed to procure vaccines from pharmaceutical companies but this should be done through entering a tripartite agreement.

This deal should involve the national government, the local government unit and the vaccine manufacturers.

For the advance purchase of AstraZeneca vaccine, the agreement states that local government units will shoulder the cost of the vaccine and plan its distribution in alignment with the national government’s immunization program.

Roque explained that a tripartite agreement has to be forged because AstraZeneca is part of COVAX facility, a pool setup by the World Health Organization to ensure fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. Only states are involved in the system.

So malinaw po, ‘no, na hindi po natin ipinagbabawal. Wala pong monopoliya ang national government sa pagbili ng mga bakuna. Sa kasunduan na kinuha po namin, at ito po iyong model contract na pinipirmahan ng mga lokal na pamahalaan kasama ang AstraZeneca, ang national government at ang Department of Health, sila ang bumibili, sila ang nagbabayad,” he said.

Roque also reiterated that local governments are not required to use their own funds to procure vaccines for their constituents.

“Gobyerno pong nasyunal ang bibili ‘no. Uulitin ko po, hindi naman kinakailangan na ang mga lokal na pamahalaan ay gumastos ng sarili nilang pondo,” he said.

“Pero kung gusto po nilang gastusin ang sarili nilang pondo, hindi po tututol ang national government dahil iyan naman po ay tulong din sa bansa – imbes na utangin eh babayaran na po,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

PH ready to handle Sputnik V vax storage requirements, DOH says

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday assured that the Philippines is ready to receive and store Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Insitute.

The Philippine envoy to Russia earlier said that an initial batch of 20,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccine is expected to arrive in the Philippines within the next few days.

An additional shipment of nearly 500,000 doses will be delivered before the end of April or early May.

Sputnik V vaccine needs to be stored at a specified temperature.

“Meron tayong handa na storage and distribution system when it comes to other vaccines that will require this kind of storage temperature,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online briefing.

“Napaghandaan na natin yan mula’t mula pa at ating inihahanda ngayon ang ating gagawin,” she added.

Unlike Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines that only require regular refrigeration temperature, Sputnik V has liquid and powder forms that have specified storage temperature requirements.

The liquid form requires storage at -18 degrees Celsius while the powdered form at the regular 2 to 8 degrees Celsius temperature.

“Itong Gamaleya vaccine, may konting technical requirement na kailangan talagang carefully maiayos natin kasi meron siyang powder form at liquid form,” Vergeire said.

“Yung liquid form may handling na specified, yung powder form may handling na specified. So ito pong lahat ay napaghandaan na,” she added.

Vergeire also said that the government’s logistics teams are currently conducting simulations to avoid any issues in receiving Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine doses.

“Handa ang ating gobyerno. Handa ang ating sistema para mareceive natin ang mga ganitong bakuna with this kind of temperature storage,” she reiterated.

DICT vaccine information system aims to expedite COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has underscored the importance of the Vaccine Information and Management System (VIMS) in the government’s vaccination rollout for COVID-19.

On Wednesday (April 21), DICT Usec. Manny Caintic said VIMS aims to expedite the monitoring and tracking of the supply and distribution of vaccines throughout the country.

Caintic said health professionals can also use VIMS in monitoring vaccination centers during rollout.

Ang VIMS ay magiging single source of truth para sa lahat ng impormasyon patungkol sa pagbabakuna kontra COVID-19 (VIMS will serve as the single source of truth for all information on vaccination against COVID-19),” he said.

He also assured data privacy will be implemented and any personal information of a vaccinated individual will not be leaked.

The DICT official also said the data from LGUs is vital in VIMS.  He urged LGUs to submit requirements for VIMS to track its vaccine distribution for the vaccination information system.

The deadline given to the DICT for VIMS rollout in the National Capital Region LGUs is set until end-April, while the deadline for the VIMS in LGUs outside NCR was set until the end of May. AAC

Bulk of COVID-19 vaccine deliveries expected to arrive in PH starting June — Galvez

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government expects to receive the bulk of COVID-19 vaccine deliveries from June to August, which could speed up the country’s mass vaccination drive, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte during a meeting in Malacañang on Monday, Galvez said they are expecting around 10 to 15 million vaccine doses by August.

Galvez also reported that he has secured five contracts with different drug makers and that the financing schemes are currently being ironed out.

These firms include Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Novavax, and Gamaleya Institute, he said, adding that Johnson & Johnson already received an emergency use authorization (EUA) for its Janssen COVID-19 vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“‘Yong Sinovac, ito ang pinaka-steady supply natin at saka po ‘yong Gamaleya. Pagka nagkaroon na tayo ng initial delivery, magiging steady na,” he said, adding he expects Moderna and AstraZeneca to also make their vaccine deliveries soon.

For this quarter, the government is eyeing to receive two million doses of COVID-19 jabs. Around 500,000 vaccine doses of these will come from Sinovac, 20,000 doses from Gamaleya and 195,000 doses from Pfizer through the COVAX facility.

Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta said at least 20,000 doses of Gamaleya Institute’s Sputnik V vaccine will be delivered in the next few days.

According to Galvez, the Sputnik V vaccine doses will be a mini rollout as the Russian pharmaceutical company conducts testing in the Philippines.

Galvez also reported that once the bilateral agreements are completed, Pfizer could make an early delivery of 2.4 million doses in the second quarter.

“And then sa May mayroon tayong ini-expect na four million; two million po sa Sinovac. Ito nabayaran na po ‘to natin, mahal na President, ‘yong 3.5 million na 1.5 million sa April at saka two million sa May,” he told the Duterte.

The vaccine czar also disclosed that the Philippine government expects to sign a contract with Gamaleya on Tuesday after ordering around one to two million doses from the Russian drug manufacturer.

Galvez added that he is also looking at getting 194,000 doses from Moderna.

The Philippines has so far vaccinated over one million Filipinos against COVID-19.

Some 965,960 healthcare workers have received the first doses of the jab. There are 132,948 senior citizens and 180,315 persons with co-morbidities who also received the shot.

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