Initial 200,000 Moderna vaccine doses arriving mid-June, Locsin says
The initial 200,000 Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine doses that are set for delivery to the Philippines in the middle of June are allocated for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the different Foreign Missions in the country, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Wednesday, April 21.
Locsin made this disclosure even as the Cambridge-based biotechnology firm Moderna has yet to secure an emergency use authorization (EUA) for its vaccine from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).
“That’s DFA’s share; supposed to go to DFA staff and family and to Foreign Missions and all their staff. I’ve told that to the diplomatic corps repeatedly and proudly announced it in international forums,” the foreign secretary said in a tweet.
On Wednesday, FDA Chief Eric Domingo confirmed they are still waiting for the EUA application of Moderna with barely six weeks away from its target rollout in the
Locsin was surprised to learn that no EUA application has been submitted for Moderna.
“Oh God, God, God…oh I forgot… we didn’t ask God to apply for EUA from FDA for Moderna. Appliers! They’re not even applicants because no paper work yet: get off your f_____g asses and submit the f_____g papers. That’s for the foreign diplomatic corps; a mutual courtesy,” he said in a separate tweet.
According to Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez, the Philippines is expected to receive close to 200,000 doses of Moderna vaccines by the middle of June while the deliveries for a total of 20 million doses may happen from July onwards until the end of 2021.
“One thing for sure, Moderna confirmed to us that the vaccine we ordered from them will begin delivery starting June 15, and that is the target date. It would start increasing in the succeeding months of July, August, and September up to the end of the year. They will complete the 20 million up to the end of the year,”
Romualdez said in a pre-recorded message on Tuesday.
As of April 17, 2021, a total of 1,456,793 vaccine shots had been administered, placing the Philippines third in Southeast Asia in terms of the number of doses given, according to the Department of Health.
Also on Wednesday, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. said government is considering buying booster shots instead of procuring additional Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
Galvez said Moderna is developing a booster shot, which can be used even with Sinovac or Gamaleya’s Sputnik V.
“We found out that Moderna is developing a booster that can be used even if we took Sinovac or Gamaleya first,” Galvez said during the joint hearing of the House committee on health and committee on trade and industry.
“The booster that can be used with another vaccine may arrive either September or October,” he added.
Galvez said that instead of the additional five million doses that the government plans to procure from Moderna, he said they “might buy the booster already.”
“That’s what we are looking into,” the vaccine czar said.
Also during the hearing, Galvez assured House lawmakers that the Philippines is not lagging behind other countries in the COVID-19 vaccination drive.
Despite a very limited supply of COVID-19 jabs in the first and second quarter of the year, he said the Philippines so far ranks fourth among Southeast Asian countries in the number of vaccine doses administered to its citizens.
Indonesia, he said, has over 17 million vaccine doses administered, Singapore with more than 2.2 million and Myanmar with 1.74 million, citing Department of Health (DOH) data.
Galvez also said the Philippines ranks 42nd out of 174 countries in the world and 15th out of 47 Asian countries in the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered. (With a report from Hannah L. Torregoza)