Gov’t assures transparency, accountability in vaccine procurement

National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., said the government will implement stringent regulatory procedures to ensure transparency and accountability in the selection, procurement, and administration of coronavirus jabs.

Galvez, during the Senate hearing on Covid-19 national immunization program Friday, said the vaccine procurement process will be done through the government’s multilateral arrangements with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank (WB), to ensure transparent documentation of vaccine acquisition.

“We assure the public that it (vaccine procurement) will undergo strict [procedure] considering that all our vaccine procurement will undergo ADB and WB stringent regulatory requirements,” he said, adding that the government’s centralized vaccine procurement ensures the country of equitable access to vaccines at a lower price.

It also complies with the regulations relative to the use and sale of vaccines in various countries, he added.

“Given there is not enough supply yet, the Philippine national government’s approach is to pool national volumes to get a seat at the negotiating table and secure the most number of vaccines at the best prices with our partners in the private sector and the LGUs (local government units),” he said.

About 80 percent of the Covid-19 vaccine supplies globally have been pre-ordered by the vaccines’ countries of origin, he said, adding that two percent of it has been secured under the COVAX Facility, while the remaining 18 percent is now being negotiated by developing countries, including the Philippines.

No monopoly

Galvez earlier clarified issues hounding the government’s supposed “monopoly” over purchase negotiations for coronavirus vaccines saying the government has been giving leeway for the LGUs and the private sector to access procurement through a tripartite agreement.

By entering the tripartite agreement, Galvez said, the government could negotiate the best price of vaccines with pharmaceutical companies.

Recently, various LGUs and the private sector have entered into a tripartite agreement with the government and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.

About 39 LGUs and 300 private companies have signed the tripartite agreement with AstraZeneca company and the government as of Jan. 15, based on the list of the NTF.

Some 17 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines are expected to arrive in the country by the third or fourth quarter this year.

The government is not favoring any brand of coronavirus vaccine as it pursues negotiations with seven vaccine manufacturers, he said.

Galvez said the government has been negotiating with various pharmaceutical companies including Novavax, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinovac, and Gamaleya Institute.

“The government will strive to meet its target of 148 million doses of safe and effective vaccines this year at the earliest possible time,” he said.

He reiterated that the government has adopted the whole-of-nation approach to ensure the acquisition of safe, effective, and sufficient doses of Covid-19 vaccines for all Filipinos, and assured the public of equitable vaccine distribution, once the supplies become available.

Source: Philippines News agency

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