2M more doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot arrive in Philippines

A file photo taken on February 6, 2021 shows a box containing vials of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the Foch hospital in Suresnes, on the start of a vaccination campaign for health workers with the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine.
AFP/Alain Jocard

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines received Saturday afternoon 2,030,400 more doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine from the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility arrived, bringing the total number of vaccine doses in the country to around 7.5 million.

The vaccine doses landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila onboard the Singapore Airlines flight SQ 910.

The government has yet to announce how the vaccine doses will be distributed, although it is expected that a portion of these shots will be allotted as the second dose for the thousands who have earlier received their first AstraZeneca jab.

A day before the arrival of the shots, the Department of Health announced that the AstraZeneca vaccine can again be used by those aged 18 and above after halting the administration of the shots to those 60 and below due to concerns over very rare blood clots after vaccination.

The AstraZeneca shot, developed in partnership with the University of Oxford, was found to be 70% effective on average.

The jabs only need to be stored at around 2°C, which is the standard temperature that is within the existing cold chain system in the country.

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The Philippines has one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia and is counting on a massive vaccination campaign to end it.

Vaccination, however, has been slow with only over 1.8 million people getting their first dose and over 421,000 people being fully vaccinated two months into the immunization program which began in March. — with a report from Gaea Katreena Cabico

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