PH to start vaccine deal talks with Moderna by December 30 — Locsin

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 21)— The Philippines will start its negotiations for a potential COVID-19 vaccine supply agreement with American biotechnology company Moderna “on or before” December 30, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin Jr. said on Monday.

“Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr., is gonna start negotiations with the American biotech company Moderna on or before Wednesday next week,” Locsin said in an interview with CNN Philippines' The Source, adding that Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel "Babe" Romualdez is also helping with the talks.

In a statement over the weekend, Romualdez said Moderna and another US-based biopharmaceutical firm, Arcturus, have expressed readiness to supply up to 25 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to the Philippines by the second half of 2021. The envoy, however, stressed that the government has to "find their proposals acceptable" before any procurement deal can be sealed.

Aside from the two companies, Locsin also noted that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had committed to help the country secure and “get back” vaccines from Pfizer, another American drug maker, following an allegedly botched deal.

READ: Locsin confirms Duque ‘dropped the ball’ in Pfizer vaccine deal, but urges end to blame game

Locsin, citing a recent conversation with Romualdez, said the vaccines from the US firms may come in by July 2021 or earlier.

The Philippines has so far formally secured 2.6 million doses from British drugmaker AstraZeneca through donations from the private sector, with the second batch of procurement also in the works.