The Philippines is looking ahead and allotting 20 billion pesos to be among the first-takers of COVID-19 vaccines once they are approved for use by December, officials said last Friday.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the plan is for the government to spearhead the vaccination of a “minimum” of 20 million people, equivalent to 18.5% of the present 108 million population.
He added, “We have a plan and we can execute it…Certainly late this year, if it is already available, we can already buy it.”
Priority will be given to the “poorest of the poor,” who can access the vaccine for free. Dominguez suggested the rest can get immunization at a cost between 500 to 1,000 pesos, depending on doses required as well logistics costs that health providers may add.
President Duterte said he will task the military to be the “implementing arm” for the vaccination program, but offered few details on exactly how this would be enforced.