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Sinovac vaccine costs only about P650 per dose in Phl: Palace

MJ Blancaflor

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Malacañang on Sunday allayed concerns that Sinovac’s coronavirus vaccine is more expensive in the Philippines than it was in Indonesia, saying the government will purchase it for about P650 per dose only.

In a radio interview, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque refused to disclose the vaccine’s actual price, but he dismissed speculations that it’s expensive to the government.

“Reports that it will be sold P3,600 per dose is fake news. The price offered to us cannot be announced yet, but it’s not far from the price offered to Indonesia which is P650 per dose,” Roque told radio station dzBB.

The Palace official was referring to reports that Sinovac’s doses are sold in Indonesia at about US$14 or P700 per dose, while it’s estimated cost in the Philippines was supposedly P1,814.75 each.

Roque previously said the Covid-19 vaccines manufactured in China will be sold to the country at a “BFF (best friend forever) price.”

In the interview, Roque explained why the government could not yet reveal the exact price of Sinovac to the public.

“The prices of China-made vaccines are not the same to others manufactured by companies in capitalist countries. Prices of China-made vaccines can change depending on which country will buy it,” he said.

“That’s the reason why China does not want to announce it because those countries that are not their BFF might purchase it at a much higher price,” Roque added.

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., during the Senate inquiry on Friday, also assured the public that the vaccine prices the Philippine government is currently negotiating with manufacturers are lower than the prevailing market price.

He also explained that the national government cannot disclose yet the actual negotiated price with the vaccine manufacturers so as not to hamper the ongoing talks as well as harm the deals with other companies. He also vowed that all prices will be available to the public in due time.

Galvez added the centralized procurement implemented by the national government ensures greater access to vaccines at lower prices.

“I can assure you that the price of Indonesia and the price of the others will be almost, hindi po nagkakalayo,” he said during the Senate inquiry.

Meanwhile, Roque defended anew the government’s choice for Sinovac, pointing out that it caused no hospitalization among those who were vaccinated in Brazil although it only yielded a 50 percent efficacy rate in the trials there.

Following the state visit of Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced that China is planning to donate 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines. Roque said these are already part of the 23 million vaccines the Philippines is procuring in total.

“It is already included in the 23 million bulk. It means we no longer need to pay for the 500,000 doses from the 23 million shots we had ordered,” he said.

He, however, did not specify the brand of the vaccine to be donated by China.

The Philippines targets to inoculate 50 to 70 million individuals within the year, and an estimated 50,000 people are expected to be vaccinated in February.

Galvez earlier said the vaccine manufactured by U.S.-based Pfizer could be the first that will be used in the country since the COVAX Facility will have an early rollout of the said brand.

Vaccines to be procured by the Philippine government are secured through multilateral arrangements with fund managers such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.

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