Top COVAX donors US, EU welcome arrival of AstraZeneca jabs in Philippines
Workers carefully unload the crates containing the doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca at the Bulwagang Kalayaan in Villamor Air Base, Pasay City on March 4, 2021.
Presidential Photo/King Rodriguez

Top COVAX donors US, EU welcome arrival of AstraZeneca jabs in Philippines

(Philstar.com) - March 5, 2021 - 3:17pm

MANILA, Philippines — Major contributors to the World Health Organization co-led COVAX facility welcomed the arrival of AstraZeneca vaccines in the Philippines.

After delays, 487,200 doses of the vaccine produced by the Swedish British drugmaker arrived in the country on Thursday night.

Both the United States and the European Union welcomed this latest development.

The US Embassy in Manila said it has initially donated P97.2 billion ($2 billion) to COVAX "to ensure the Philippines and other countries receive COVID-19 vaccines.

“The United States is proud to be the largest contributor to COVAX, and we welcome the successful arrival of the first tranche of AstraZeneca vaccines in the Philippines. As we fight the pandemic together, the United States will continue to support the Philippines’ vaccination and COVID-19 mitigation efforts,” US Chargé d’Affaires John Law said in a statement released Friday.

In February, the US pledged to donate a total of P194.4 billion ($4 billion) to the COVAX facility to help the world's most vulnerable and at-risk populations in getting COVID-19 vaccines.

Team Europe, consisting of the EU and its member states with the European Investment Bank, meanwhile said it has to-date provided P130 billion (€2.2 billion) to COVAX.

No one is safe until everyone is safe. His Excellency Luc Véron, Ambassador of the European Union to the Philippines,...

Posted by European Union in the Philippines on Thursday, 4 March 2021

EU Ambassador Luc Véron highlighted that the Philippines will receive vaccines for 22 million Filipinos under the COVAX facility.

"The EU has both a responsibility and interest to make vaccines available to all. The European Union has maintained its goal to work in solidarity for vaccine cooperation and multilateralism — none is safe until everyone is safe," Véron said Thursday.

According to one of the officials leading the country's pandemic response team, the government may start distributing the AstraZeneca jabs on Friday or Saturday.

“Maybe the distribution of AstraZeneca vaccine to different hospitals will begin either later today or tomorrow,” Vince Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, said in an interview on Teleradyo. — Patricia Lourdes Viray with report from Gaea Katreena Cabico

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 8, 2021 - 11:35am

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 8, 2021 - 11:35am

Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian gets his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

A post on Valenzuela City's official Twitter account says the mayor chose Chinese-made Sinovac.

April 7, 2021 - 9:23pm

Germany's Bavaria region has signed a provisional agreement to buy doses of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine once it is approved by European regulators, state premier Markus Soeder said Wednesday.

The southern state has "signed a memorandum of understanding today... for the supply of Sputnik," Soeder told reporters in Munich. 

If the Sputnik vaccine is approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Bavaria is set to receive around 2.5 million doses in the coming months through a company in the Bavarian town of Illertissen, Soeder said. — AFP

April 5, 2021 - 12:59pm

At least 795,320 Filipinos have been vaccinated with their first dose vaccine against COVID-19 as of April 3.

Data from the National Task Force against COVID-19 shows that 765,871 of those who were already vaccinated are frontline healthcare workers, 16,121 are senior citizens and 13,288 are individuals with comorbidity.

April 5, 2021 - 10:50am

Judiciary employees are now included in priority population group A4 of the country's vaccination plan for COVID-19.

The judiciary earlier appealed to vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. to include justices, judges and court personnel in the list of frontline government workers in the justice sector.

"Finally, the letter-request expresses that the Judiciary's continuing in-court operations despite the existence of community quarantines run the risk of exposing its employees/personnel to COVID-19 infections, who in turn, regularly interact with other stakeholders that already fall in the priority groups of the Philippines National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines," Perlas-Bernabe says.

April 5, 2021 - 10:35am

US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson files for emergency use authorization of its single-dose COVUD-19 vaccine in the Philippines.

Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo confirms this, noting that the government is targeting 5 million doses.

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