Philippines Targets Buying 148 Million Vaccine Doses This Year

The Philippines plans to buy 148 million coronavirus vaccine doses to inoculate more than half of the population this year.

The government is seeking to close deals this month with AstraZeneca Plc, Novavax Inc., Pfizer Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac Biotech Ltd, and Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said at a televised briefing Wednesday. Up to 70 million Filipinos are expected to be vaccinated this year, he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health said it is coordinating with Hong Kong health authorities for details on a passenger who flew from Manila and was tested positive for the more contagious strain that first emerged in the U.K.

The Philippines’ health agency also said the new strain wasn’t detected in over 300 hospital samples from the past two months and from inbound travelers who tested positive upon arrival at the airport.

Philippine Airlines Inc. said the passenger from Manila presented a negative virus test result before taking the flight. The carrier has given to authorities information to aid in tracking down passengers in the same flight.

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