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[Philippines] 5.6M vaccine doses expected within first quarter


MANILA, Philippines — National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief Carlito Galvez Jr. on Sunday announced that the country will receive 5.6 million doses of vaccines within the first quarter of this year to jump-start the country’s vaccination program.

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Galvez said he received a letter from Aurélia Nguyen, managing director of the global procurement pool COVAX, officially informing the Philippine government of a total of 9,407,400 doses of Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford, which the country will get within the first and second quarters of this year.

“With the country demonstrating its preparedness to receive the vaccines, the regional review committees from the World Health Organization, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, and Gavi have granted us two vaccine brands that have been ‘authorized or very close to being authorized by the WHO through an Emergency Use Listing,’” Galvez said, citing the letter.

He said 117,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine and 5.5 million doses of AstraZeneca jabs are expected to be delivered in the middle of or late February.

The vaccines from COVAX would be administered on front-line health-care workers, senior citizens and uniformed personnel.

“I would like to emphasize that according to COVAX the number of doses and the projected arrival of the vaccines are all indicative since it all depends on the global supply,” he said, adding that both vaccines have been issued emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration and, thus, “can be safely administered once they become available.”

Galvez said the NTF Covid-19 has been inspecting the capability of the different local governments, particularly in Metro Manila, in preparing for the arrival of the vaccines and enforcing their respective vaccination plans.

“Based on our visits, we have seen that many [local governments] and the private sector are now ready for the vaccine rollout from their vaccination sites, to their cold storage equipment and facilities, to their [employees]. We hope that these kinds of preparations will be replicated nationwide,” he said.

Galvez gave assurance that the government would secure the targeted 148 million doses of safe, effective, and free vaccines to inoculate 70 million Filipinos and achieve herd immunity within this year.

“The arrival of these COVAX facility vaccines is a welcome development,” he said. INQ

Published : February 01, 2021

By : Jeannette I. Andrade Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN