Imee: No Need For Gov’t To Pay Double For Vaccines

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“We can buy AstraZeneca’s vaccine at only US$2.50 per dose, half the price announced by government negotiators. The Swedish pharmaceutical firm and Oxford University already decided to sell their vaccine at cost and for as long as needed by less developed countries,” Senator Imee Marcos said.

Marcos issued the statement after the government, local corporate donors, and AstraZeneca signed a purchase agreement to acquire 2.6 million doses of the vaccine for about Php600 million, or about $5 per dose.

Marcos added that subsequent purchases of the same vaccine should cost less because the Philippines is also among the 92 low and lower-middle income countries that will benefit from international donor-funded vaccines under the global initiative known as the COVAX Advance Market Commitment facility.

The COVAX AMC aims to keep vaccine prices at not more than $3 per dose, through the efforts of the World Health Organization, the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, and vaccine-manufacturing countries, so that poorer nations can gain affordable and fair access to Covid-19 vaccines.

“With a budget of Php600 million, the government should be able to buy not just 2.6 million doses but at least five million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. At $5, every Filipino vaccinated should be able to complete the two prescribed doses, not just half,” Marcos said.

Marcos cited Oxford’s statement issued last week, which partly reads: “A key element of Oxford’s partnership with AstraZeneca is the joint commitment to provide the vaccine on a not-for-profit basis for the duration of the pandemic across the world, and in perpetuity to low- and middle-income countries.”

Marcos added that AstraZeneca has a local presence and has several manufacturing sites in China which would lower the cost of shipping the firm’s vaccines to the Philippines.

The cold chain storage cost of the vaccine would also be minimal since refrigeration at only two to eight degrees centigrade is needed, Marcos also said.