National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – No need for the next administration to procure additional vaccines for this year’s Covid-19 inoculation program, according to vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., on Wednesday, noting that the country has enough supplies.

“So matutuwa po ang next administration, Mr. President, dahil more or less 98 to 100 [million] vaccine doses pa po ang matitira at hindi na po sila kailangang bumili (The next administration will be glad Mr. President because we have more or less 98 to 100 million vaccine doses that will be left and they don’t need to buy anymore),” Galvez told President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during his prerecorded Talk to the People.

Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19, said the World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVAX facility has renewed its commitment to provide more vaccines in the Philippines—which is on top of the 74 million doses of donation last year.

The COVAX also vowed to replace the country’s expired vaccines, he added.

“And according to them, they have already a flexibility on supply. Puwede na po silang magbigay po ulit sa atin at palitan ‘yung mga po na mga na-expire na mga vaccine at saka po ‘yung mga pangangailangan pa po natin (They can provide vaccines again and will replace the expired vaccines and our other needs),” Galvez said.

The pronouncement of the COVAX on replacing the expired vaccine doses will reduce people’s doubts about vaccine efficacy and will somehow address the hesitancy of the people to get vaccinated, he added.

“Sa kanila po ang pinakatalaga (the most important for them) is to save more lives rather than magkaroon po ng tinatawag na pagdududa sa tinatawag nating mga expiring vaccine (to have doubts on the expiring vaccines),” he said.

Galvez said the Philippines has been able to procure Covid-19 vaccines at a much lower price from various pharmaceutical companies, allowing the government to save more funds on pandemic response.

“Actually ‘yung 100 million na doses po na ‘yun parang savings na po natin ‘yun eh. At saka ‘yun pong 100 million doses po na ‘yun ay talagang kayang-kaya pong ireserba sa next administration (Actually, that 100 million doses will serve as our savings. And that 100 million doses will be enough to reserve for the next administration),” he added.

He said the government will no longer use the PHP45-billion budget allotted for this year’s Covid-19 vaccine procurement, through a multi-lateral agreement with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Of that total concessional loan amount agreed with these international banks, PHP2.5 billion will be sourced from the Department of Health (DOH)’s 2021 budget, while PHP10 billion is from funds under Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).

“Alam po natin na mayroon po tayong PHP45 billion na naka-allot sa multilateral financier natin na PHP2.5 billion sa DOH. Ito po, hindi pa po natin nagagalaw hanggang ngayon (we know we have allotted PHP45 billion from multilateral financier and PHP2.5 billion from DOH. This has remained untouched),” Galvez noted. (PNA)