Deployment of 600,000 Sinovac doses eyed within 1st week of March
A health worker administers the Sinovac vaccine to her colleague at the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City on March 1, 2021.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

Deployment of 600,000 Sinovac doses eyed within 1st week of March

(Philstar.com) - March 3, 2021 - 12:57pm

MANILA, Philippines — The government is targeting to distribute 600,000 doses of the Sinovac Biotech vaccine to different hospitals nationwide within the first week of March, the country’s vaccine czar said Wednesday.

The country began vaccinations against COVID-19 Monday, just a day after it received donated jabs from China. So far, some 2,793 individuals got inoculated with CoronaVac in the 11 hospitals where the jabs were first deployed, Carlito Galvez Jr. said in an interview on ANC’s Headstart.

“Our target for the end of the week is to deploy almost 600,000… Our target for this week is to dispatch and distribute all doses to different regions,” Galvez said.

CoronaVac doses arrived in Cebu City and Davao City Tuesday, with the rollouts there expected to begin today.

The initial allocation set was for 202,182 individuals in Luzon, 51,140 for Visayas and 94,540 for Mindanao, Galvez said.

The vaccine czar also claimed that the demand for Sinovac vaccine is increasing.

“Initially, on the first day, only a few wanted to take it, only about 13% requested for it… Now, almost every day, congressmen and mayors who want hospitals in their localities to receive the vaccine are calling us,” he said in Filipino.

The government aims to vaccinate between 1.7 million and 2 million health workers by end-March. But it faces challenges not limited to the stock of coveted jabs but also reluctance of the public, including medical frontliners.

Rollout for general public

Galvez also said the vaccine rollout for the general public may start in late April, at the earliest.

The vaccination of senior citizens and indigent families—which are included in the government’s priority list—may also begin around the same period.

“Our projection for the general public as well as the senior citizens, poor families and vulnerable communities, we will start general public inoculations more or less late April or May,” he said.

The government is aiming to inoculate 70 million people—about 60% of the population—this year.

Galvez earlier said only 5.1 million of the 161 million doses expected this year will arrive in the country in the first quarter. The bulk of the doses will only come in the second half.

The Philippines has recorded 580,442 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday after six consecutive days more logging over 2,000 additional infections. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 19, 2021 - 12:17pm

The national government has so far secured two official deals for COVID-19 vaccine supplies in the Philippines, one with Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac and another with the Serum Institute of India.

Watch this space for bite-sized developments on the vaccines in the Philippines. (Main image by Markus Spiske via Unsplash)

April 19, 2021 - 12:17pm

The Department of Health approves the resumption of the distribution of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to persons below 60 years old.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire says this was upon the recommendation of the country's Food and Drug Administration.

April 16, 2021 - 8:19am

As approved by the inter-agency task force on COVID-19, Priority Group A4 of the National COVID-19 Vaccine Development Plan will include:

  • commuter transport (land, air and sea), including logistics
  • public and private wet and dry market vendors 
  • frontline workers in groceries, supermarkets, delivery services 
  • workers in manufacturing for food, beverage, medical and pharmaceutical products 
  • frontline workers in food retail, including food service delivery
  • frontline workers in private and government financial services 
  • frontline workers in hotels and accommodation establishments 
  • priests, rabbis, imams and other religious leaders 
  • security guards/personnel assigned in offices, agencies and organizations identified in the list of priority industries/sectors
  • frontline workers in private and government news media 
  • customer-facing personnel of telecoms, cable and internet service providers, electricity distribution and water distribution utilities
  • frontline personnel in basic education and higher education institutions and agencies 
  • overseas Filipino workers, including those scheduled for deployment within two months 
  • frontline workers in law/justice, security, and social protection sectors
  • frontline government workers engaged in the operations of government transport system, quarantine inspection worker safety inspection and other COVID-19 response activities 
  • frontline government workers in charge of tax collection, assessment of businesses for incentives, election, national ID, data collection personnel 
  • diplomatic community and Department of Foreign Affairs personnel in consular operations 
  • Department of Public Works and Highways personnel in charge of monitoring government infrastructure
April 15, 2021 - 2:28pm

The US, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will provide P170 million in support to help the Department of Health rollout the government's COVID-19 vaccination program.

According to the US Embassy, the aid was announced by US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law during a visit to a Caloocan City vaccination site with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and other officials.

"Through this new funding, USAID will support the Philippines in strengthening the vaccine supply chain, monitoring vaccine safety, and delivering effective communication campaigns to address vaccine hesitancy.  This assistance will also support local government units as they plan for, track, and administer vaccines."

April 13, 2021 - 8:42pm

Top US health authorities recommended a "pause" in the use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine "out of an abundance of caution" as they investigate any links between it and blood clots, a regulator said Tuesday.

The US Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control are assessing the "potential significance" of six reported cases of a rare blood clot in patients who have received the shot, the FDA tweeted. 

"Until that process is complete, we are recommending this pause," it said.

The regulator said that as of Monday more than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine had been administered in the US.

"CDC & FDA are reviewing data involving 6 reported U.S. cases of a rare & severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the vaccine. Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare," the FDA stated on Twitter. — AFP 

April 13, 2021 - 11:20am

Some 20 million doses of Russian-made Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in the Philippines within the next four months.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. says the government will sign a supply agreement with Russia's Gamaleya Research Institute this week.

“It can be used on the elderly, so from 18 and above. So we can use this and the good thing is at least in the absence of AstraZeneca, we can use this,” Galvez says in an interview with ANC's "Headstart."

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