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Philippine Red Cross buys 200,000 doses of Moderna vaccine

THE PHILIPPINE Red Cross would charge P3,500 for two doses of coronavirus vaccines made by Moderna, Inc.

The Red Cross had ordered 200,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine for 100,000 people, Senator Richard J. Gordon told an online news briefing on Monday.

The senator, who heads the Red Cross, said the price includes the cost of personal protective equipment used by their staff, electricity and other things. “I think that’s a fair thing to do,” Mr. Gordon said of the price.

The local Food and Drug Administration early this month approved the emergency use of Moderna’s vaccines.

The vaccine is 94% effective against the coronavirus, FDA Director General Rolando Enrique D. Domingo said this month, citing phase three clinical trials.

The Health department earlier said mayors and governors would be prioritized in the state’s vaccination program against the coronavirus.

An inter-agency task force approved their inclusion in the priority list because they are the primary movers in local governments’ pandemic response, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire told an online news briefing on Monday.

“They are also vulnerable because they are frequently exposed.”

Ms. Vergeire said the decision came given sufficient vaccine supply, adding that this would boost public confidence in vaccines.

Mayors and governors would be prioritized “regardless of the risk classification of their respective local government units,” presidential spokesman Herminio “Harry” L. Roque, Jr. told a separate news briefing.

“They may not be doctors, but they are equally frontliners because mayors and governors lead all our strategies.”

More than 2.5 million vaccine doses had been given as of May 11 — 2.03 million for the first dose and 514,655 for the second dose.

Health workers, senior citizens and seriously ill people were still being vaccinated, the agency said.

The country’s 1.7 million health workers are the top priority group for vaccines. The elderly and seriously ill people are next.

Meanwhile, Ms. Vergeire said the Health department, the Department of Science and Technology and its panel of vaccine experts were evaluating a proposal to mix coronavirus vaccines.

“The proponent of this trial already presented to us their protocol,” she said. “We are studying this mix and match procedure, where you can get a different vaccine for your second shot,” she added in mixed English and Filipino.

Vaccine czar Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. earlier said the Philippines was expected to take delivery of as many as 40 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer, Inc. by the third quarter, as it tries to boost its vaccination drive.

The government expects to receive 20 to 40 million doses, vaccine czar Carlito G. Galvez, Jr . told a televised news briefing on Tuesday.

The government also expects to take delivery of Pfizer vaccines under a global initiative for equal access, he said.

The first shipment of Pfizer vaccines should have arrived in February but was delayed due to logistical problems and after the government failed to sign a document freeing the drug maker from potential lawsuits.

Mr. Galvez said he and other government representatives have signed the indemnity clause.

He said the country was also set to take delivery by May of about 194,000 coronavirus vaccine doses made by Moderna, Inc.

The National Government ordered about 13 million doses from Moderna. The private sector, led by billionaire Enrique Razon, also bought 7 million doses. — VMMV

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