DOH: 69% of Pfizer jabs went to Metro Manila
A health worker shows syringes filled with Pfizer vaccine as they administer the first dose to those belonging to A1 (medical frontliners), A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with comorbidity) categories during their continuation of vaccination program for San Juaneños at FilOil Flying V Centre (San Juan Arena) on May 12, 2021.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

DOH: 69% of Pfizer jabs went to Metro Manila

(Philstar.com) - May 17, 2021 - 1:13pm

MANILA, Philippines — Virus epicenter Metro Manila received the biggest share of the country’s initial doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the Department of Health said Monday.

In a briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said 69% of the 193,050 jabs supplied by global vaccine sharing alliance COVAX facility went to the capital region.

The cities of Pasig, Marikina, Quezon, Mandaluyong and San Juan received the biggest allocations, Vergeire said.

“One the of most critical criteria on how we’re allocating vaccines across local governments would be their capacity to store these Pfizer vaccines, meaning they have capacity to store these in ultra low freezer,” she said in a mix of English and Filipino.

San Juan City, which began inoculating its citizens with the Pfizer-BioNTech jabs last week, rented an ultra-cold freezer to store the vaccines. Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be kept at the required -80°C to -60°C temperature.

So why were big cities such as Manila, the nation’s capital, not given large allocations? Vergeire said it’s because they got doses of Russia’s Sputnik V shots.

“They received fewer because we would want to equally allocate different vaccines to various local governments in Metro Manila,” the DOH official said.

Authorities earlier said Pfizer jabs would be also distributed to Cebu City and Davao City, which have facilities capable of storing shots at subarctic temperatures.

The country is expected to receive as many as 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The Philippines has one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Southeast Asia, with over 1.14 million cases, and is counting on a massive inoculation campaign to end it.

Since the Philippine launched its vaccination campaign on March 1, only 714,432 people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Meanwhile, 2.24 million have received the first of two doses of the vaccine. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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