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PH assured of US vaccines supply

Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez
Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez

AMERICAN biopharmaceutical firms Moderna and Arcturus are also ready to supply up to 25 million of their respective COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines, Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez said yesterday.

In a tweet, the Philippine envoy said the vaccines will be ready beginning third quarter of 2021.

“I am pleased to report that, aside from Pfizer, Moderna and Arcturus are ready to supply the Philippines anywhere between 4-25 million of their respective vaccines starting Q3 2021, should the Philippine government find their proposals acceptable,” Romualdez said in his tweet.

He added “We are hoping our government will consider the promising candidates of Moderna and Arcturus for inclusion in our country’s pool of anti-COVID vaccines,” Romualdez said in a statement.

US experts has voted to recommend emergency approval of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, paving the way for six million doses to start shipping this weekend.

A few weeks ago, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo helped facilitate the supposed delivery of the vaccines to the Philippines by early 2021 but someone “dropped the ball” on the Pfizer vaccine delivery.

Senator Panfilo Lacson named Health Secretary Francisco Duque III as the one who made the mistake, causing the Philippines to miss the opportunity to secure the 10 million vaccine, which showed 95% efficacy with no serious side effects.

“They could have secured the delivery of 10 million Pfizer vaccines as early as January next year, way ahead of Singapore but for the indifference of Secretary Duque who failed to work on the necessary documentary requirement, namely, the confidentiality disclosure agreement (CDA) as he should have done,” Lacson said.

Duque has denied that he botched the deal.

COVID-19 cases spike

The Philippines’ total number of COVID-19 cases rose to a total of 456,562 after it reported 2,122 additional infections on Friday, the highest in more than a month, buttressing fears of a surge in new cases during the holidays.

The death toll was placed at 8,875 after 25 more people died from the disease.

The 2,122 new cases is the highest daily tally recorded since November 8, when the total count was 2,438 cases.

Quezon City again had the most number of newl cases with 160 additional infections, followed by the province of Rizal with 105, Bulacan with 91, Makati City with 83, and Davao City with 79.

On the other hand, the number of recoveries increased to 420,666, according to the DOH. The total recoveries make up 92.1 percent of the total recorded cases.

Stricken overseas Pinoys

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) yesterday reported another spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among Filipinos abroad, with 45 new cases in Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East and Africa.

Meanwhile, 13 new recoveries and no new fatality were recorded.

The reported increase is due to late reports received from one territory in the Asia Pacific region.

The DFA personnel in the Foreign Service Posts remain steadfast in partnering with local health authorities and agencies to ensure Filipinos’ awareness of and adherence to preventive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic, and commit to tirelessly attending to the needs of our people affected by this pandemic, whenever possible, the DFA said.