The World Health Organization’s Philippine representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe revealed in an interview that COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX facility will not be free, as earlier reports have suggested.
Instead, the government will be paying the lowest possible cost for the vaccines.
“Initially the plan was to make this free but latest communication apparently looking for some costs… Lowest possible costs because of the scale of purchase… It’s minimal,” Dr. Abeyasinghe stated.
Abeyasinghe also confirmed that the initiative will supply the country with 117,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, which will arrive this month, and 5.5 million to 9.2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines before the first quarter of the year ends.
Based on the country’s agreement with the COVAX initiative, about 22 million Filipinos will receive their vaccines against the coronavirus.
“The COVAX facility has an agreement with Philippines. We will provide vaccines to 20 percent of the population or 22 million people… [or] up to 44 million doses.”
The representative also confirmed that the government has the choice on which sector to vaccinate first—medical frontliners and the elderly.