20M Filipinos to benefit from free COVID vaccination, those who have received government assistance among top priority

Image capture of video by PTV4 via YouTube
  • Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said that the government would provide free COVID vaccination to at least 20M Filipinos
  • The program will cost the government P20 billion pesos to be financed by Landbank and DBP
  • The President emphasized that the individuals who are in the list for government assistance are the first to receive the vaccine

The COVID vaccine will be made available to at least 20 million Filipinos in the country for free. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III announced this on July 31 in a pre-recorded Malacanang briefing with the president.

Image capture of video by PTV4 via YouTube

He said there are three pharmaceutical companies set to finish their clinical trials by October and after FDA approval will have the vaccines ready by December.

“May three pharmaceutical companies na po sa China, one from Great Britain, one from the US na nasa advanced stage na. By around October, matatapos ang trials, so before December, most likely ma-aapprove ito ng Food and Drug Administration nila.”

The Department of Health will choose the vaccine to be purchased. The vaccine costs $10 per dose and each person needs two doses. The purchase will total 400 million USD or P20 billion pesos.

It will be bought through Philippine International Trading Corporation under the Department of Trade and Industry and to be turned over to the DOH.

Dominguez added, “DOH will put this in their budget, they will pay this P20 billion in two to three years, babayaran nila through financing ng Landbank at DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines).”

Image capture of video by PTV4 via YouTube

Earlier during the briefing, President Duterte guaranteed that poor Filipinos who have received government assistance, followed by the middle-income class and the military and police, top the priority list for vaccination.

“Ang una talaga yong mga tao sa listahan na tumatanggap ng assistance sa gobyerno. Pangalawa yong middle income. Libre ‘to. Hindi ko ‘to ipagbili… And also my military and my police.”

“‘Yung mga mayaman, ‘wag ninyo akong isipin, kasi hindi ako nag-iisip sa inyo… Kayo ang maka-afford,” he addressed the richer Filipinos; saying they have to buy instead.

Duterte confirmed that the Philippines will be given priority access by China as soon as the vaccine is available.

Watch the recorded live stream here: