Philippines to buy 20mln Moderna vaccine doses as COVID-19 cases rise

Duterte to be privately inoculated with Sinovac vaccine

  
Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19/ Coronavirus vaccine/ Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Moderna logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020.

Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19/ Coronavirus vaccine/ Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Moderna logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

MANILA - The Philippines will buy 20 million doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said on Tuesday, adding to deals for a total of 72 million doses from AstraZeneca, Novavax and Sinovac.

With more than 504,000 COVID-19 cases and nearly 10,000 deaths, as of Tuesday, the Philippines has the second highest level of infections in Southeast Asia.

President Rodrigo Duterte has said he preferred that the Philippines sources its COVID-19 vaccines from either China or Russia and on Tuesday Food and Drug Administration chief Rolando Enrique Domingo told state-owned PTV network that late-stage clinical trial applications from Sinovac and Clover Biopharmaceuticals have been approved. 

Duterte wants to take the Sinovac vaccine as soon as it is available, but without media coverage of the vaccination, Roque told a regular news conference.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Ed Davies and Alexander Smith) ((neiljerome.morales@thomsonreuters.com; +632 8841 8914;))

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