FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. The Philippines and Russia 's Gamaleya Research Institute is set to sign an agreement for 20 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine, National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Tuesday (April 13, 2021). An initial 500,000 doses may be delivered this month. (PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Philippines will sign a supply agreement with Russia's pharmaceutical firm Gamaleya Research Institute this week for 20 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine, National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. said Tuesday.

The vaccine czar also bared that once the contract is sealed, Gamaleya will send an initial 500,000 doses this month.

"Ang Gamaleya po ay may 20 million na po at natanggap na po namin ang (We have secured 20 million doses of Gamaleya vaccines and we already received the supply agreement and we are about to sign this agreement)," Galvez said during the Palace press briefing.

In a separate interview over ABS-CBN News Channel, Galvez said Sputnik V may also be given to the elderly "in the absence of AstraZeneca".

Gamaleya's emergency use authorization as approved by the Food and Drug Administration showed that the Russian jabs may be used for individuals aged 18 years and above, including the elderly.

Galvez expressed full trust in the Russian manufacturer.

"The Gamaleya [Research Institute] has been there for almost 30 years, they are one of the best vaccine makers. One of their expertise is the viral vector," he said.

Galvez is optimistic that once the Sputnik V, also to be administered in two doses, is delivered, the Philippines’ supply would become stable "considering its steady production and support to all developing countries".

During their negotiations, Galvez said Gamaleya also offered to increase the country's supply.

"Ang sabi pa nga po nila na (They said that) if you need some more, you still have more or less 20 million, if you would like to add more doses," said Galvez. "In our negotiation, we already have 20 million [doses] and we have the options to add more, maybe by the month of May or June we can increase." (PNA)