Bulk of fresh vaccines going to surge areas
A Sinovac vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus is seen at a psychiatric hospital in Banda Aceh on February 6, 2021.

Bulk of fresh vaccines going to surge areas

Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - June 13, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sixty percent of the vaccines of Sinovac and Pfizer-BioNtech that arrived in the country recently are for “centers of gravity” or areas now seeing surges in COVID-19 cases, the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday.

At a public briefing, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said it is really part of the priority framework for the COVID-19 jabs to consider the “geographic burden” of the disease in allocating vaccines.

As such, 60 percent of the one million doses of Sinovac vaccines procured by the government and some 2.2 million doses of Pfizer-BioNtech jabs donated through the COVAX Facility would go to areas with the most cases.

“Areas that are having an increase in cases will be given additional allocation for these batches that have arrived,” said Vergeire, adding that the DOH expects vaccination activities to resume tomorrow, June 14.

She did not mention specific areas but noted that parts of the Visayas and Mindanao are now having an uptick in cases, which she referred to recently as “centers of gravity.”

Last Friday, the DOH identified the regions with high incidence of COVID-19 infections as Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, SOCCSKSARGEN, Caraga and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Yesterday, Vergeire said more than 98 percent of the vaccines have already been distributed to the local government units (LGUs).

“If there are vaccines left in our warehouses, these are the buffer stocks that we keep in case there will be a shortage of vaccines. But these are really very few,” she added.

As of June 8, DOH data showed a total of 5,965,651 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have already been administered.

Also, 1,681,722 individuals have completed their inoculation while 4,632,826 have received their first dose.

Sputnik V vaccines

Another 100,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccines from Russia arrived the other night.
Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. and Russian Ambassador Marat Pavlov led the official party that received the fourth batch of Sputnik V vaccine shipments at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) around 11 p.m. Friday.

With fast-tracked processing and releasing, the vaccine doses were immediately transported to PharmaServ Express cold storage in Marikina City for distribution by the DOH.
To date, the country has received a total of 180,000 doses of the vaccine manufactured by Gamaleya Research Institute of Russia. Sputnik V vaccines require -18 degrees Celsius storage.

Pavlov said the arrival of Sputnik V vaccines and the promise of more shipments will boost the ties between Russia and the Philippines as they mark the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“We are ready to deliver 20 million doses of Sputnik V according to the contracts that have been signed between the Russian Direct Investment Fund and the Government of the Philippines,” he said. – Rudy Santos

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