5.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer, AstraZeneca to arrive in Philippines within 1st quarter - Galvez
At least 5.6 million vaccine doses produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca are expected to arrive in the country within the first quarter of this year to jumpstart the country’s national vaccination program as part of the global efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus, an official said on Sunday.
National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said his office received a letter from Aurélia Nguyen, managing director of the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility, officially informing the Philippine government that the country stands to receive a total of 9,407,400 doses from the two pharmaceutical makers within the projected first and second quarters of this year.
With the country demonstrating its preparedness to receive the vaccines, the regional review committees from the WHO, United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, and Gavi The Vaccine Alliance have granted the Philippines two vaccine brands that have been “authorized or very close to being authorized by WHO through an Emergency Use Listing (EUL)," Galvez said quoting the letter.
"In its letter, the COVAX Facility said the Philippines will receive 117,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. These are expected to be delivered in mid-February and will cover the first quarter supply commitment. Delivery confirmation of the supplies for the succeeding quarters will be announced later." he said.
He said the country will receive 5,500,800 to 9,290,400 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines.
"As the company awaits the issuance of its EUL, the 'indicative' numbers of doses reflect only the supply for the first two quarters of 2021. The initial delivery is scheduled by mid to late February as stated in the letter," the official said.
According to COVAX, he said the number of doses and the projected arrival of the vaccines are all indicative since it all depends on the global supply.
The Philippine Food and Drug Administration has earlier granted both Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA), which means that these vaccines can be safely administered once they become available.
The government is targeting to secure 148 million doses of safe, effective, and free vaccines to inoculate 70 million people by 2021 and realize the nation’s goal of achieving herd immunity within this year.
"We would therefore like to urge all Filipinos to set their fears aside and have themselves inoculated once these vaccines are available. Again, we would like to assure our countrymen that all the vaccines the government will be administering must pass the stringent selection and evaluation process of the Vaccine Expert Panel, FDA, and the Department of Health," Galvez said.
Based on a survey, many Filipinos have expressed unwillingness to receive COVID-19 vaccines. DMS