(Reuters) – Moderna Inc said on Saturday it has agreed to supply the Philippines government with 13 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, with deliveries set to begin in mid-2021.
The company will work with regulators to pursue necessary approvals before distribution, it said in a press release.
Moderna said it expected to reach a separate deal with the Philippines government and private sector to supply an additional 7 million doses.
The deal will boost the supply of COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines, which on March 1 began its campaign to inoculate 70 million of its 108 million people to achieve herd immunity and reopen an economy that in 2020 saw its worst contraction on record.
The Philippines, which is battling one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Asia, reported 3,276 confirmed cases on Sunday, the third straight day that the daily figure has remained above 3,000 or levels last seen in October.
Its food and drug regulator has so far approved for emergency use COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE, AstraZeneca PLC and Sinovac Biotech.
Officials on Sunday also took delivery of 38,400 more doses of AstraZeneca vaccines, bringing to 525,600 the total number of AstraZeneca vaccines the Philippines has so far received via the COVAX facility.
“These vaccines are essential in maintaining the momentum of our vaccine roll out,” Carlito Galvez, the former general who heads the government’s vaccine strategy, said in a statement.
Galvez is leading government negotiations with seven global vaccine makers to secure 161 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
(Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru and Karen Lema in Manila; Editing by Richard Chang and Louise Heavens)