Philippines to get 30 million doses of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine

Philippines to get 30 million doses of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine
Despite consultations with numerous vaccine makers, the Philippines has so far signed only one supply deal, with the help of its private sector, to acquire 2.6 million shots of a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca. (File/AFP)
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Updated 22 December 2020

Philippines to get 30 million doses of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine

Philippines to get 30 million doses of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine
  • The Philippines has so far signed only one supply deal with the help of its private sector
  • It plans to buy 25 million doses of a vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech for delivery by March

MANILA: The Philippines expects to receive 30 million doses of Novavax Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine by July next year, its foreign minister said on Monday, boosting the country’s effort to secure supplies to inoculate more than 100 million people.
Despite consultations with numerous vaccine makers, the Philippines has so far signed only one supply deal, with the help of its private sector, to acquire 2.6 million shots of a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca.
It plans to buy 25 million doses of a vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech for delivery by March and aims to secure between four and 25 million doses of vaccines from Moderna and Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings Inc.
“Thirty million dosages of the Indian-made Novavax vaccines are assured possibly with no cash advance. It will be available by July 2021,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said in an interview with CNN Philippines.
He said the information came from Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, and that the terms of the supply deal may be signed before the end of the year.
There was no immediate comment from the institute, which in August entered a supply and license agreement with Novavax Inc. for the development and commercialization of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
Talks with Moderna, which has been granted emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration, will begin next week, Locsin said.
With 459,789 infections and 8,947 deaths, the Philippines has recorded the second-highest number of COVID-19 infections and casualties in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.


Portugal President Rebelo de Sousa wins new term in socially distanced ballot

Portugal President Rebelo de Sousa wins new term in socially distanced ballot
Updated 9 min 21 sec ago

Portugal President Rebelo de Sousa wins new term in socially distanced ballot

Portugal President Rebelo de Sousa wins new term in socially distanced ballot
  • Strict hygiene rules in place as COVID-19 cases surge * Record abstention at 60%
  • 60% of voters abstained, the highest figure in Portuguese history
LISBON: Portugal’s center-right president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, won a second term on Sunday in an election marked by record abstention as the country battles a crippling third wave of coronavirus contagion.
The 72-year-old former leader of the Social Democratic Party, known for his warm persona and habit of taking selfies with supporters, won 61% of votes, above his 52% win in 2016.
Still, 60% of voters abstained — the highest figure in Portuguese history — in part because 1.1 million voters from abroad were added to the electoral register for the first time, but also due to hundreds of thousands of people in quarantine.
The president holds a largely ceremonial role but can veto certain laws and decree states of emergency, a power Rebelo de Sousa deployed often during the pandemic, taking parliament’s lead.
“The most urgent of tasks is to combat the pandemic. This is my priority, in total solidarity with parliament and government,” Rebelo de Sousa said in his victory speech.
Andre Ventura, a lawmaker for the far-right Chega party, narrowly lost out to left-wing candidate Ana Gomes in the fight for a distant second place, with 12% of the vote to Gomes’ 13%.
The result was nevertheless a significant jump for Ventura, a close ally of European far-right parties who dubs himself ‘anti-system’ and has fueled fears among rights groups for discriminatory views toward minorities. His party won just 1.3% of votes in the 2019 legislative elections.
Rebelo de Sousa, in an apparent dig at Ventura — whose campaign catchphrase was that he would represent the ‘good Portuguese’ and not those who lived off the state — vowed to be a president who “stabilizes, unites, who is not only of the ‘good’ against the ‘bad’.”

COVID-19 cases soar
Masked, socially distanced and using their own pens, voters were subjected to extensive measures by local councils to prevent contagion during the voting process.
Still, almost two-thirds of Portuguese thought the election should have been postponed because of the pandemic, a poll last week by research institute ISC/ISCTE showed.
“Since the date of the elections wasn’t changed, I decided to come early,” said Cristina Queda, 58, who arrived at her polling station in Lisbon as soon as it opened at 8 a.m. to “avoid groups and queues.”
The country of 10 million people is reporting the world’s highest seven-day rolling average of new cases and deaths per capita, according to Oxford University data tracker www.ourworldindata.org.
The number of COVID-19 deaths broke records for the seventh day in a row on Sunday at 275, with hospitalizations also at an all-time high and ambulances queuing for several hours at Lisbon hospitals full to capacity.
Portugal has posted a total of 10,469 deaths from COVID-19 and 636,190 cases.
Casting his vote at a Lisbon school, center-left Prime Minister Antonio Costa acknowledged the grave stage of the pandemic, but said that “everything was done for people to be able to exercise their democratic right to vote.”