PH signs tripartite vaccine deal with Moderna, Razon group

THE Philippine government has signed a tripartite agreement with the private sector, led by business tycoon Enrique Razon and American drugmaker Moderna, for the supply of 20 million doses of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine in the country.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 and the country’s vaccine czar, sealed the partnership with Razon, chairman of International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), and Patrick Bergstedt, Moderna senior vice president.

“With the signing of this tripartite agreement, we can say that our bayanihan spirit is truly alive. We would like to express our deepest appreciation to Mr Enrique K Razon, Chairman of ICTSI and representing the private sector, for his incessant support to the national government in our fight against this pandemic,” Galvez said.

“We would also like to thank Mr Patrick Bergstedt and the whole Moderna Team for keeping up with their commitment in providing 20 million ‘doses of hope’ for 10 million Filipinos. Our special thanks to the Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel ‘Babe’ Romualdez for his continued intercession and introduction of Moderna to the national government,” he added.

Under the agreement, the Philippine government secured 13 million doses of Moderna vaccines, while the private sector ordered another 7 million vaccine doses for its frontline workers.

Moderna first made the announcement about the agreement last week and noted they were also working on an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the vaccine.

So far, the Philippines has only granted EUA for the vaccines of China’s Sinovac Biotech, British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca, and American drugmaker Pfizer.

The country has so far received 600,000 Sinovac doses and 525,600 AstraZeneca shots for the country’s vaccination drive that started at the start of this month.

As of March 17, 269, 583 medical frontliners and health workers have been inoculated nationwide.

With the signing of the tripartite agreement, Galvez said the country would be able realize its goal of having a “steady supply of vaccines” throughout the year.

“This is part of our goal to vaccinate 70 million of our adult population and recover the economy from the pandemic,” he said.

Razon had said his company “has formally committed to manage and fund the entire international logistics effort for the Moderna order.”

The company has an “intrinsic and moral obligation to assist our countrymen in every way possible,” he said.

Over the past several months, the government has been aggressively negotiating with vaccine makers to secure at least 161-million vaccine doses.

Galvez had said the government has set its sight on vaccinating 50 to 70 million Filipinos this year for a “better Christmas.”

He said the government would try to vaccinate 1 million citizens per week in April, 2 million citizens per week in May, and 3 to 5 million per week beginning June.