Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III joins the meeting with the the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members presided by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on July 30, 2020. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said on Friday that the Philippines would be able fund the vaccination of “the poorest 20 million Filipinos” once a Covid-19 vaccine became available.

“Ang estimate ng Department of Health, we will need to vaccinate for free a minimum of 20 million people. I don’t know if it’s one vaccine or two shots, so we need 40 million doses,” Dominguez said.

The cost per dose, according to Dominguez, was $10. For 20 million people to be vaccinated, the country would need $400 million or roughly P20 billion.

“We have a plan and we can execute it as soon as the Department of Health (DOH) chooses which vaccine or vaccines they want,” Dominguez said.

The Philippine International Trading Corp, under the Department of Trade and Industry, will head the procurement of the vaccine upon the approval of the DOH.

The Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines will finance the mass vaccination cost, which will be paid by DOH over two to three years.

Dominguez said once the vaccines hit the market, they would cost about P500 per dose, while the full vaccination cost, inclusive of transport and service charges, would be about P1,200.

Who gets the vaccine?

President Rodrigo Duterte said those who had received cash assistance from the government amid the pandemic would be prioritized.

Duterte also urged New People’s Army rebels to stop fighting military troops, at least until December, so they could be covered by the vaccination.

Drug pushers will not be vaccinated, the president asserted.

“‘Yun ang utos ko. ‘Yan ang gusto ko. Hindi talaga maganda. Mga tao, hindi pala tao sila… mga drug pusher, drug lord tingin ko sa kanila aso,” he said.

The government-funded vaccination will also prioritize middle-income earners, the military and the police.

Rich people, Duterte said,  should just just pay for the vaccine.

“’Yung mga mayaman, huwag na ninyo akong isipin kasi hindi ako nag-iisip sa inyo. Sorry na lang,” he said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro