Covid-19 vaccine funds enough for qualified Filipinos: DOF chief

By Joann Villanueva

January 12, 2021, 7:44 pm

<p><em>File photo</em></p>

File photo

MANILA – Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the close to PHP75-billion budget for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine acquisition is enough to inoculate the majority of Filipinos that are qualified for the shot.
"Now, PHP75 billion pesos and I figure that a conservative cost of inoculation per individual,” he told members of the Management Association of the Philippines’ (MAP) during their 72nd inaugural meeting and induction of 2021 MAP Board of Governors Tuesday.
Dominguez said part of the financing amounting to PHP62.5 billion will come from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the World Bank (WB).
At PHP1,300 per individual, around 57 million Filipinos will benefit from the funds allocated by the national government, he added.
With a population of around 110 million to date, Dominguez said those ages 18 years old and below, or about 40 percent of the population, are not qualified for the vaccine.
This leaves around 70 million of the adult population for the vaccination program.
Dominguez said local government units (LGUs) will provide for the remaining individuals, citing also the numbers will even be less since there are those who are not interested to have the vaccine.
“So, basically we are going to be covered. And, I think, we will be able to easily vaccinate now, with the resources we have raised, to vaccinate 60 million Filipinos,” he added. 
Earlier, Budget and Management Secretary Wendel Avisado said PHP25 billion has been identified as a standby fund for vaccine procurement under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, while PHP70 billion has been allocated as an unprogrammed fund under this year’s national budget for vaccine acquisition.
He said the unprogrammed fund can be accessed through bilateral, multilateral, domestic or foreign borrowings.
On Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the country has secured its first 25 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from Chinese biopharmaceutical firm, Sinovac Biotech Ltd. 
He said about 50,000 doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in the country next month, although this is on top of the 15,000 doses to be used for Sinovac’s clinical trial here. 
Authorities said the Covid-19 vaccination program has a minimum time frame of three years. (PNA)