STATEMENT OF NATIONAL TASK FORCE AGAINST COVID-19 CHIEF IMPLEMENTER AND VACCINE CZAR SECRETARY CARLITO G. GALVEZ JR. ON THE NEED FOR EVERY FILIPINO BE VACCINATED The Philippine government remains steadfast in its battle against COVID-19. It will leave no stone unturned to ensure that all Filipinos are safe and bring a greater sense of normalcy to our nation. Finding ways to address this health crisis has been very challenging, not just for the Philippines but for countries all over the world. With almost 2 million deaths globally, around 10,000 of which come from our country, our efforts to lower our mortality rate has remained among our main priorities. Hence, despite the limited supply and massive global demand for the vaccines, we were able to negotiate and secure over 100 million vaccine doses at a lower price or the same price offered to the COVAX facility. We want to caution the public on the prices of vaccines circulating online and in many publications. These are market prices and not the COVAX prices that were in our negotiations with vaccine manufacturers. The COVAX prices are almost 300% lower than the market prices. In as much as we want to disclose the price list of these vaccines, our negotiations are bounded by a confidentiality agreement. The government maintains a portfolio of vaccines. This contains all the brand names and manufacturers of vaccines that are under development. From this portfolio, the government identifies the companies it will negotiate with. All our decisions are based on the recommendations of our vaccine experts who have seen promising results in the candidate vaccines. As we are in a race against time to ensure that we will be able to obtain access to safe and effective vaccines, the government immediately commenced negotiations with many vaccine makers from various countries even as their products were still under the third phase of clinical trials. Nevertheless, we want to assure our countrymen that all vaccines to be purchased by the government will undergo the stringent evaluation and selection process of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure their safety and efficacy. Only FDA-approved vaccines, whether for an Emergency Use Authorization or for clinical trials, will be used in inoculating the Filipino people. Regardless of brand names or country origin, all vaccine candidates will undergo the same rigorous regulatory review procedures. We expect the first batch of vaccines to arrive by next month. Hence, we encourage our countrymen to look beyond brand names and get immunized once the vaccines are available in their area. We all want to protect ourselves and our loved ones. And getting the vaccine is one of the best ways to achieve this. With the availability of the vaccines and our strict observance of minimum health standards – wearing of face masks, maintaining social distancing, and practicing proper hygiene – we will be able to curb the spread of the virus and eventually put an end to this pandemic. We are confident that with all Filipinos united and working together, we will be able to build back better, allow our economy to recover, and heal as one people and one nation.
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