MANILA, Philippines — More COVID-19 shots from the World Health Organization-led COVAX Facility may arrive this month, including the first batch of jabs developed by American drug maker Pfizer, National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF) chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said.
“The good news, Mr. President, is we will have good volumes this coming May because of a positive development in COVAX. It seems that Pfizer and AstraZeneca will be able to deliver. We will get more or less one million to two million (doses of) AstraZeneca this May. We are just waiting for the definite date,” Galvez told President Duterte during a meeting of the government’s pandemic task force on Wednesday night.
“The Pfizer vaccines from COVAX will come and we have an assurance that 1.3 million (doses) will arrive in May. Most likely, 193,000 doses will arrive on May 11,” he added.
Because of the expected delivery, Galvez said there would be no problems giving a second dose to those who received their first shot.
The US-made Pfizer vaccines from the COVAX facility were supposed to arrive last February but delivery was delayed because of tight supply.
Upon arrival next week, there will be a “mini-rollout” that will better prepare government for succeeding deliveries.
“Our LGUs (local government units) in NCR (National Capital Region) are prepared (to receive the Pfizer vaccines) and we are also looking at Davao and Cebu,” Galvez said, noting that Pfizer vaccines should be stored at -70 degrees Celsius.
1.5 million Sinovac jabs arrive
Aside from the incoming AstraZeneca vaccines, the government is preparing for 1.5 million doses of China-made Sinovac vaccine that are expected to arrive today, Sen. Bong Go announced.
“On Friday, we expect 1.5 million doses of Sinovac to arrive. Preparations are also being made for the possible arrival of two million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the COVAX Facility this coming Saturday afternoon,” Go said.
“I welcome the expected arrival of additional doses of vaccines against COVID-19. This means that more people, particularly our frontliners and vulnerable sectors, will be given the necessary protection,” Go said, adding that more vaccine deliveries will arrive in the coming weeks and months.
“The rollout of our COVID-19 vaccination program continues according to our priority list. Please, let’s follow the priority list, no one will be important, no one will be VIP, because we all need to be vaccinated. If we increase our daily vaccination rate from the current 133,000 daily rate, more Filipinos will be vaccinated, and we will be able to attain herd immunity in the community faster,” Go concluded. – Cecille Suerte Felipe, Mayen Jaymalin