New batch of Sinovac COVID-19 jabs arrives in Philippines
A health worker shows a vial of Chinese Sinovac vaccine against Covid-19 coronavirus disease inside a movie theatre turned into a vaccination center in Taguig City suburban Manila on June 14, 2021.
AFP/Ted Aljibe

New batch of Sinovac COVID-19 jabs arrives in Philippines

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - June 17, 2021 - 8:50am

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 6:19 p.m.) — The Philippines received Thursday 1.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Chinese drugmaker Sinovac Biotech.

The Cebu Pacific flight carrying the shots arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport past 7 a.m., the National Task Force against COVID-19 said.

Sinovac’s two-dose CoronaVac accounts for the bulk of the country’s vaccine supply. The latest delivery raised the total number of CoronaVac shots received by the Philippines to 9 million, including a million donated by Beijing.

The deployment of a million CoronaVac jabs that arrived last week was stalled due to the manufacturer’s failure to submit a certificate of analysis, one of the documents required by the country’s drug regulator.

It was only on Wednesday that the Department of Health said it would start the distribution after receiving the necessary document, which ensures the purchased vaccines are of good quality. 

The arrival of additional Chinese-made jabs comes at a time when areas outside of the capital region, such as those in Mindanao, see surges in COVID-19 infections. Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the will send more vaccines to the southern regions as soon as the rest of deliveries arrive this month.

Over 10 million COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be shipped in the country this June.

Jabs for private sector

Included in the latest shipment was the first batch of privately-procured vaccines. A total of 500,000 doses are for use by the private sector for the inoculation of employees and qualified personnel. 

Earlier this year, the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry signed a tripartite agreement with the IP Biotech Inc.—the distributor of Sinovac in the Philippines—and the national government. 

“Through our FFCCCII vaccination program, [we] expand [our] commitment as a steadfast partner of the people, and we rise up as one nation in overcoming the pandemic,” FFCCCII President Henry Lim Bon Liong said in a statement. 

Only 1.7% of the country’s roughly 110 million population have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 since the inoculation drive began in March, while 4.6% have received the first of two doses of the vaccine.

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