Secretary Galvez: Gov’t can open up economy once there’s stable COVID-19 vaccine stockpile


MANILA, (March 2) —  Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said they would recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the opening up of the economy once the government secures a standby reserve of two to five million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Gagawin po namin, Mr. President, iyong inyong ano inyong utos na magkaroon po tayo ng at least mayroon tayong naka-standby na reserve or stockpile na 2 million to 5 million para at least makapag-open up na po tayo ng ano ng ating economy,” Galvez told President Duterte during a meeting on government intervention on COVID-19.

“Pagka po nagawa po namin na ‘yong aming ano stable na po ‘yong aming supply, we will inform you, sir, we will recommend na puwede na tayong mag-open just in case na nakuha na po natin more or less iyong talagang mga vulnerable people.”

Galvez also told the President that after China’s donation of 600,000 doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine last Sunday, the government has already launched a simultaneous mini rollout of its vaccination program.

The government has conducted inoculations Monday at the UP-Philippine General Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital, Veteran’s Memorial Medical Center, Philippine National Police General Hospital and V. Luna Medical Center.

Similar rollout will be done Tuesday at the Pasig City General Hospital, Amang Rodriguez Hospital, Philippine Air Force General Hospital, Manila Naval Hospital, Philippine Army General Hospital, Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo Hospital, as well as hospitals in Pasay City, Taguig City, and Sta. Ana in Manila.

St. Luke’s Medical Center also wants to participate and has asked the government for 5,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine for its medical frontliners, according to Galvez.

The President expressed elation over the private sector participation in the government’s vaccine rollout.

“We appreciate every — any and every cooperation offered to us at this time. Kung sasali iyong St. Luke’s then nagpapasalamat tayo,” he said.

“So they can also help spread really the vaccine as soon as — as fast as it can be accommodated by the time and motion of a human being.”

The government has allocated 146,000 doses for the National Capital Region (NCR), Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Baguio City, the vaccine czar reported.

For Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Mimaropa, and Bicol Regions, there’s an allocation of 70,000 doses while for the Visayas and Mindanao, 26,000 and 24,000 doses, respectively.

Galvez said the government’s objective is to immunize all the country’s health workers in the first quarter of this year.

In the second quarter, the government expects to receive some 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which will comprise of Novavax and AstraZeneca jabs.

All vaccines procured by the government will start to arrive in the third quarter, he said.

“So more or less mayroon po tayong sa third quarter, mayroon po tayong 68 million at doon po sa fourth quarter, mayroon po tayong 69 (million).”

In total, the government expects to secure 161 million doses including the 44 million doses from the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility. (PND)