Philippines gets first supply of Pfizer COVID-19 jab from COVAX
Workers unload the shipment of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines after the plane carrying it landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay on May 10, 2021
Twitter/World Health Organization

Philippines gets first supply of Pfizer COVID-19 jab from COVAX

(Philstar.com) - May 10, 2021 - 9:18pm

MANILA, Philippines — Some 193,050 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine reached Manila on Monday night, marking the arrival of its first supply of the said jab.

An Air HongKong plane carrying the shipment landed before 9 p.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport's Terminal 2 in Pasay tonight.

The delivery is a donation from the World Health Organization-led initiative and not yet a direct purchase by the national government.

"These additional Pfizer vaccines will be used on priority groups A1 to A3, who will be receiving the first dose of these vaccines," said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III in a statement. "We thank the COVAX facility and all of our partners for making this possible."

In the weekly meeting of the coronavirus task force tonight, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said too that some 1.1 million more doses of this vaccine will reach the Philippines by end of the month.

Pfizer was supposedly part of the first vaccine supplies to arrive in the country as early as February. 

The delivery, however, was delayed for months as government scrambled to pass an indemnity law, a requirement which an official admitted they were caught off guard.

Pfizer's doses are seen to be distributed to Metro Manila, Davao and Cebu, or areas which can store them at the required temperature of -70°C.

At present, the standard temperature within the existing cold chain system in the country is about 2°C to 8°C. 

COVAX's delivery of Pfizer came days after it also sent two million doses of AstraZeneca to the Philippines. 

These are much-needed supplies as the country continues to battle a surge in infections that began in late March.

Over 421,000 have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the country to date, with more than 1.8 million with their first dose. 

Government is targetting to inoculate 50 million to 70 million Filipinos this year. Experts have pointed out that it should fast track the administering of doses if it wants to achieve its goal.

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