CEBU CITY, Jan. 6 (PIA) -- Philippine Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez on Jan. 6 said the government aims to inoculate between 50 million to 70 million Filipinos within the year.
Galvez, the chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19, said in the first vaccine cluster briefing during a "Laging Handa Special" program held at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Auditorium that the country is already in the advanced stages of negotiations with United States' Novavax, Pfizer, and Johnson&Johnson; United Kingdom's AstraZeneca; China's Sinovac Biotec; and Russia's Gamaleya Research Institute.
"We hope to close the deal with these companies this month," he added.
Galvez said the government will receive fully subsidized doses from the Covax Facility for the first 20 percent of the population or 22 million Filipinos.
The government plans to secure at least 148 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to cover some 70 million Filipinos, he added.
He, along with other officials, assured the public that the government has taken scientific evaluations to ensure that safe, effective, and free COVID-19 vaccines will be provided for all Filipinos.
He allayed fears over the country's use of COVID-19 vaccines after an independent survey released on Jan. 5 by the OCTA Research's TUGON NG MASA survey found that only 25 percent of respondents in Metro Manila are willing to be vaccinated while 28 percent did not want to receive an anti-coronavirus shot and 47 percent are left undecided.
Galvez relayed Pres. Rodrigo Duterte's message that "Walang pong maiiwan, walang iwanan (No one will be left behind)" as he assured that all Filipinos will be given the opportunity for inoculation.
Galvez said the Philippines and Colombia will be the first two countries to take part in the World Health Organization (WHO) Solidarity Vaccine Trial.
At least 15,000 volunteers from Metro Manila will take part in the trial to be conducted in the National Capital Region, he added.
He said the massive nationwide vaccination program is anchored on the Philippine National Vaccine Roadmap, adding that "its goal is to achieve the full recovery of the economy and the lives of Filipino people."
PIA Director-General Usec. Ramon Cualoping assured the public that "your government is working hard in planning the roll-out and distribution of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines."
"We in the PCOO and the PIA under the leadership of Sec. Martin Andanar, and the leadership of the NTF under Sec. Galvez and Sec. Vince Dizon, and the vaccine panel of experts are here to communicate these timely and relevant information to everyone," he added.
Cualoping said "it is the mandate of the government under our President Rodrigo Duterte to save lives, revive hopes, and shape the future for a comfortable life for all Filipinos."
This Laging Handa Special was the first of several briefings explaining the Philippines' Vaccination Road Map and ensuring that only verified information will be shared to the public in the fight against COVID-19. (cid/PIA7)