MANILA – The Philippine government has reserved 50 million doses of Moderna booster shots for 2022, Philippine Ambassador in Washington D.C. Jose Manuel Romualdez revealed Tuesday.
"Kasama rin tayo sa mga booster shots na dine-develop ngayon, Moderna definitely has already informed us. Nag-reserve na tayo ng mga 50 million doses and that's for next year (Moderna already informed us about the booster shots that are being developed now. We've reserved 50 million doses for next year)," he said in a Malacañang briefing.
Romualdez said the vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer are "still very effective" against the emerging variants of concerns, including the highly contagious Delta variant first detected in India.
"Pfizer specifically is very effective against the Delta variant, they are 88 percent effective and we expect the same thing from Moderna because the technology they used is the same," he said.
Moderna's shot uses mRNA technology to teach the cells how to make a protein that would trigger an immune response inside the body.
The US-based company was among the leading vaccine manufacturers to start developing booster shots as an added protection to virus mutations and to bolster immunity from the first two jabs.
Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel previously told Axios that booster shots may be necessary as early as September 2021 especially for those at high risk (senior citizens and health care workers) who received their first round of jabs in December 2020 and January 2021.
Romualdez confirmed that the initial shipment of 249,600 from the 20 million Moderna vaccine doses the country earlier ordered will arrive on June 27.
He said the rest of the doses would be spread across several delivery dates to the Philippines until the latter part of 2021.
"Next month that will probably be close to a million then succeedingly down the road up to around November, we will be getting the entire 20 million from Moderna," he said.
He also disclosed that the Philippines is getting "close to 800,000 to 1 million" from the 80 million-dose global vaccine commitment of the US.
"We're going to get something like close to 800,000 to 1 million doses either Moderna or AstraZeneca from their stockpile, which is expected to be given to us by next month," he said.
Manila is among the countries included among those that will receive a portion of the 500 million vaccine doses Washington will procure for donations, he added. (PNA)