* Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveries in bulk to begin by August
* Philippines has secured 113 mln doses from vaccine suppliers
* Government wants to vaccinate up to 70 million Filipinos
The Philippine government has signed a supply agreement for 40 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE , the head of the government's Covid-19 vaccine procurement said on Sunday.
Deliveries of the vaccine, among several brands of coronavirus shots allowed for emergency use in the Southeast Asian country, will begin "after eight weeks starting August", Carlito Galvez said in a statement.
The deal comes as a delay in vaccine deliveries had earlier this month forced some cities in the capital region to close vaccination sites, complicating Manila's efforts to ramp up its immunisation drive in an Asian country with one of the biggest numbers of infections and deaths.
With the latest deal, the Philippines has now secured the delivery of 113 million doses from five vaccine manufacturers namely, Sinovac with 26 million doses, Sputnik V with 10 million doses, 20 million doses from Moderna, 17 million doses from Astrazeneca, and now 40 million doses from Pfizer, Galvez said.
He described the Pfizer-BioNTech agreement as "the biggest and most decisive deal we had for 2021".
"(It) will significantly boost our national immunisation programme and will enable us to realize our goal of achieving herd immunity by year-end," Galvez said.
"This is another positive development that will give a happy and better Christmas for all Filipinos."
The Philippines has so far inoculated more than 8 million people, but not all have received their second dose. The aim is to inoculate 50 million to 70 million people to achieve herd immunity.
With vaccine demand easing up for many big and rich countries after they acquired more than enough doses for their populations, Galvez said this has allowed Pfizer to commit the delivery.
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