Philippines aims to buy 148 million Covid-19 vaccine doses this year

Up to 70 million Filipinos are expected to be vaccinated this year. PHOTO: REUTERS

PHILIPPINES (BLOOMBERG) - The Philippines plans to buy 148 million coronavirus vaccine doses to inoculate more than half of the population this year.

The government is seeking to close deals this month with AstraZeneca, Novavax, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac Biotech, and Russia's Gamaleya Research Institute, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said at a televised briefing on Wednesday (Jan 6). Up to 70 million Filipinos are expected to be vaccinated this year, he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health said it is coordinating with Hong Kong health authorities for details on a passenger who flew to the city from Manila and tested positive for the more contagious virus strain that first emerged in Britain.

The Philippines' health agency also said the new strain wasn't detected in over 300 hospital samples from the past two months and from inbound travellers who tested positive upon arrival at the airport.

Philippine Airlines said the passenger from Manila presented a negative virus test result before taking the flight. The carrier has given information to the authorities to aid in tracking down passengers on the same flight.

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