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Philippines to buy another 20m doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

MANILA: The Philippines will buy an additional 20 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE, seeking to fully inoculate more than 80 per cent of its population by the middle of next year, a government official said yesterday.

A deal has been signed with Pfizer, bringing the government's total purchases of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to 60 million doses, said Mr Carlito Galvez Jr, who is in charge of the country's Covid-19 vaccine procurement.

The additional Pfizer-BioNTech doses will be used as booster shots and for paediatric vaccinations, Mr Galvez said at a virtual media briefing a day before the start of a three-day national inoculation drive.

BioNTech said last Friday that it expects more data on the Omicron coronavirus "variant of concern" within two weeks to help determine whether its vaccine produced with Pfizer would have to be changed.

Mr Galvez said the Philippines has now received about 142 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines via purchases and donations.

The country has so far fully inoculated more than 35 million individuals, or about 46 per cent of the targeted population, he said.

The government's goal is to inoculate 54 million Filipinos by year-end, or 70 per cent of the targeted population, Mr Galvez said.

The next goal is to hit the 77 million threshold by the end of March next year, and then 90 million, or 82 per cent of the country's population, by the end of June.

Mr Galvez said the government was looking to expand the coverage of booster shots, now limited to healthcare workers and senior citizens, to include government personnel and "economic front-liners" starting next month. - REUTERS

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