Philippines secures 10 million Sputnik doses â Galvez
This handout photo taken on May 1, 2021 and received from the Presidential Communications Operations Office shows workers unloading first batch of the Russian-made Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine from a plane shortly after arriving at the international airport in Manila.
PCOO Handout via AFP

Philippines secures 10 million Sputnik doses – Galvez

Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) - May 4, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has secured 10 million doses of Sputnik V vaccines from Russian drug maker Gamaleya Research Institute, National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF) chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said yesterday.

“On behalf of the National Task Forces against COVID-19 and the vaccine cluster, I would like to thank the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) of Russia and the Russian Ambassador Marat Pavlov for the delivery of 15,000 Sputnik V vaccines,” Galvez said, referring to the initial shipment that arrived last weekend after some delays.

He said the country is expecting the delivery of two million doses this May, followed by four to six million doses in the coming months from RDIF. The contract with Gamaleya is expandable for up to 20 million doses.

With Sputnik V, the Philippines now has three brands in its vaccine supply inventory, as it fast-tracks the implementation of the national immunization program that aims to inoculate 50 to 70 million Filipinos by yearend.

The Department of Health (DOH) said it will conduct simulation exercises in Makati, Taguig, Muntinlupa, Manila and Parañaque cities to see where logistics improvements can be done, as the Sputnik V vaccine has different storage requirements compared to Sinovac and AstraZeneca. Sputnik will be given to those aged 18 and above.

1.6 M Pinoys vaccinated

The DOH revealed 1.93 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have already been administered, with 1.6 million people receiving their first dose and 284,553 individuals completing two doses.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said confidence in vaccines had improved, with people becoming more open after seeing health care workers or neighbors receive the shots.

Of the vaccinated individuals, only 2.1 percent have experienced adverse events with no vaccine-related deaths recorded. “To date, there is no fatal event associated with COVID-19 vaccines in the country,” she added.

She also said vaccination of the A4 priority group would start in May or June when more vaccines arrive, explaining that the inoculation of 5,000 essential workers last Saturday was merely “symbolic” as part of Labor Day celebrations.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said 1,510 employees serving in isolation and quarantine hotels have been vaccinated as of April 30.

As petitioned by the department, the A4 category now includes workers in isolation and quarantine hotels, as well as airports, airlines and transport.

Tightened watch

Wary of fake certifications or permits, the Bureau of Customs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (BOC-NAIA) said they would intensify their screening process on documents and coordination with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before releasing any shipment of COVID-19 vaccines.

Earlier, the World Health Organization issued a global medical product alert for a fake COVID-19 vaccine with product name “BNT162b2” ostensibly manufactured by Pfizer BioNTech. The fake vaccine, with lot number “783201” and an expiry date of Aug. 24, was first discovered in Mexico. It is still undergoing laboratory analysis by WHO.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año directed the Philippine National Police to investigate and confiscate any fake COVID-19 vaccines that may have entered the country.

“While there is no information yet on the presence of the fake vaccines in the country, LGUs should exercise increased diligence as these fake vaccines may be dangerous to the health of those who get inoculated,” Año warned. – Elijah Rosales, Sheila Crisostomo, Rudy Santos

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