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National Policy against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on Thursday announced the government and the private sectors are set to sign a tripartite agreement for two million doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine.

In a virtual palace briefing, Galvez said the deal is set to be signed on Friday, allowing the country to buy the Covid-19 vaccine developed in the United Kingdom.

“Kasama po natin ang mga pribadong sektor na nag-donate nito (We will be with the private sectors who donated it),” he added, noting that the two million doses of vaccine are separate from around 20 million doses targeted to be procured using public funds.

Galvez said the government also continues to negotiate with other pharmaceutical companies to acquire equitable access to the Covid-19 vaccine.

He also urged the public to continue observing minimum health standards such as wearing of face mask, face shield, and practice regular hand washing, even if the vaccine becomes available.

He said the government, in partnership with the private sector, intends to vaccinate 25 to 30 million Filipinos per year.

“Ang atin pong target ay magkaroon po tayo ng herd immunity na ma-vaccinate po natin ang more or less 60 to 75 million [Filipinos] para ma-contain po natin ang (Our target is to acquire herd immunity that could vaccinate more or less 60 to 75 million Filipinos to contain the) virus effectively with the herd immunity,” Galvez said.

The government is initially targeting about 75 percent of the Filipino population to be vaccinated for Covid-19, he added.

Galvez said the targeted number for the vaccination program per year will be depending on the world market.

“Kasi po yung vaccine magiging available lang po yan either yung best case scenario nga po ay sa (Since the vaccine might become available on its best-case scenario on) May, June and July so meaning wala po tayong available na (there will be no available) vaccine this first and second quarter at ang rollout po natin (and we might rollout) most likely late second-quarter up to end of the year [2021],” he said.

He noted that the regular immunization program in the country per year could only capacitate about five million Filipinos.

While targeting the “simultaneous and massive” rollout of vaccination, Galvez said the government also considered its limitations on establishing cold chain storages for the vaccine.

Meanwhile, Galvez noted that the opening of tourism in some areas in the country did not cause any increase in Covid-19 cases.

He said the spike of Covid-19 cases is mostly recorded in Mindanao areas.

Galvez said the increase of Covid-19 cases is generally manageable.

“Generally, ‘yung (our) active cases ay pababa po (are lowering down),” he added.

Galvez recommended stricter enforcement of the minimum health standards during the holiday seasons.

He then reminded the business owners to continue imposing stringent health protocols within their establishments.

“We are expecting, it’s very imminent that the cases will spike,” he said.

Galvez said the Metro Manila mayors have been cautious in easing quarantine restrictions as they recommended shifting from general community quarantine to modified general community quarantine only by next year, after the holidays. (PNA)

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