THE FINANCE department on Tuesday said the government is in talks with development partners for $900 (P45.6 billion) million worth of loans that it will use to buy coronavirus vaccines. 

“We are in discussions with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for up to $900 million in financing for vaccines,” Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Y. Joven said in a text message. 

Vaccine czar Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. earlier said Finance chief Carlos G. Dominguez was preparing the funding for more vaccines. 

The Philippines’ supply of coronavirus vaccines is expected to hit 160 million by yearend, Mr. Galvez told a taped Cabinet meeting aired on Monday, as the country tries to fully vaccinate 70% of its population either by the end of this year or early next year. 

“By December, we will have 140 to 160 million vaccines,” he said. The government was also negotiating with at least four vaccine makers for more doses, he added. 

The Philippines has received 77.4 million coronavirus vaccine doses. The government aims to reach population protection by vaccinating at least 50% of its population by yearend. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza 

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