There are sufficient funds for Duterte’s massive immunization program — DOF

There are sufficient funds for Duterte’s massive immunization program — DOF

MANILA — As the vaccines for coronavirus disease are expecting to arrive next month, the Department of Finance (DOF) has assured that funds have been sufficiently provisioned to procure enough doses of COVID-19 vaccines from various sources in line with its target to inoculate at least 50 million Filipinos.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the DOF has “in place” P75 billion of the P82.5 billion budget required to provide vaccines to around 55 percent of the population.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the government will allocate P82.5 billion for the massive immunization in order to save the country from COVID-19 so that the pandemic will end.

Of the P82.5 billion, the amount of P2.5 billion forms part of the budget of the Department of Health (DOH) under the 2021 General Appropriations Act (GAA), while P10 billion will come from the funds allocated for the COVID-19 vaccination program under Republic Act (RA) No. 11494 or the Bayanihan To Recover As One Act (Bayanihan 2), Dominguez said.

The remaining P70 billion will be sourced from loans provided by multilateral lenders, the Philippines’ bilateral partners, and/or the domestic market, he added.

The DOF is processing around P62.5 billion (approximately US$1.3 billion) through loans with multilateral banks to procure COVID-19 vaccines for adult Filipinos, Dominguez said.

These multilateral institutions include the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (WB), and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), he said.

According to Dominguez, the government is targeting to inoculate between 50 to 70 million adult Filipinos aged 18 years old and above.

“We have 110 million Filipinos. Of the 110 million, around 40 million are below the ages of 18 and it is not recommended that teenagers and below get the vaccine. So, you knock off 40 million out of 110 million. That leaves you 70 million Filipinos potentially to vaccinate,” he said during the open forum following his speech at the 72nd inaugural meeting of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) held online on Tuesday.

The COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use so far are only allowed for adults aged 18 years old and above, as there are no clinical trials yet involving children.

Dominguez said initial computations place the conservative cost per person to be vaccinated at P1,300, which already includes the required doses, syringe, storage, equipment, information campaign, monitoring, and other support services. (ARWEN PASCUA/AI/MTVN)

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