Philippines to Sign Deal with UK's Astra Zeneca for 2 Million COVID Vaccines

It's a tripartite deal.
Photo/s: Joel Saget/AFP

The Philippines will sign this week a deal with British drugmaker AstraZeneca for the purchase of some 2 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, the country's immunization czar said Thursday, a step towards saving the population from the virus that has infected some 60 million people worldwide.

COVID-19 Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the Philippine government, along with the private sector, will formalize a tripartite agreement with AstraZeneca on Friday.

“This coming Friday, pipirma po tayo ng tripartite agreement na kung saan tayo po ay makakabili ng 2 milyon doses ng bakuna mula sa AstraZeneca ng United Kingdom," Galvez said in a televised Palace press briefing.

AstraZeneca earlier announced that its COVID-19 vaccine, which was developed with the University of Oxford has shown "an average efficacy of 70%" in trials.

The results ranged between 62% and 90% efficacy depending on the vaccine dosage.

The 70% average is lower compared with the efficacy of coronavirus vaccines trialed by rivals Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna which have come in above 90%.

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Earlier, Galvez said the Philippines was also in talks with Pfizer, and China's Sinovac for COVID-19 vaccines.

The Philippines is eyeing a share of COVID-19 vaccines enough to immunize some 60 million people, Galvez had said.

In a "best-case scenario," the Philippines could start immunizations by the second quarter of 2021, he said.

Results of clinical trials have fueled hopes that the end of the pandemic that has claimed over 1.4 million lives worldwide is in sight as a number of promising COVID-19 vaccines are on the cusp of release.

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--with a report from Agence France-Presse

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