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1.5 million more Sinovac doses arrive in Philippines
The NTF said the new batch – the biggest shipment of CoronaVac so far this month – is part of the 5.5 million doses from Sinovac. The vaccines were transported to PharmaServ Express cold storage in Marikina City, with the bulk to be distributed to high-risk cities and provinces.
AFP/Wang Zhao

1.5 million more Sinovac doses arrive in Philippines

Neil Jayson Servallos (The Philippine Star) - June 18, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — About 1.5 million additional doses of Chinese-made Sinovac vaccines arrived yesterday morning at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.

One million doses are consigned to the Department of Health (DOH) while 500,000 doses were ordered by the Filipino-Chinese community for their businesses and employees.

The NTF said the new batch – the biggest shipment of CoronaVac so far this month – is part of the 5.5 million doses from Sinovac. The
vaccines were transported to PharmaServ Express cold storage in Marikina City, with the bulk to be distributed to high-risk cities and provinces.

Last week, the government received one million doses of CoronaVac coinciding with the inoculation of essential workers under the A4 category. “In total, about 14,205,870 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in the country,” the NTF said.

Earlier, the task force announced that the country was expecting 12 million doses to arrive next month, with 17 million more coming in August.

With the arrival of more COVID-19 vaccines, NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said high-risk areas in Mindanao would get more vaccines. He added that the country is still closing supply agreements with Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, which are expected to yield 45 million doses.

Ranking

According to global think tank Our World in Data, the country has vaccinated 4.68 percent of the population, placing 8th among Southeast Asian nations. Percentage-wise, Singapore led the region with 46.16, followed by Cambodia (16.72), Brunei (11.87), Malaysia (10.61) percent, Laos (9.86) Indonesia (7.64) and Thailand (7.09). Trailing the Philippines are Myanmar (3.26) and Vietnam (1.63).

When it comes to administered doses, the Philippines ranked second with 7.08 million jabs deployed, only behind Indonesia which led with 32.6 million vaccine doses. Thailand is third (more than 6 million), followed by Cambodia (5.67), Malaysia (4.9), Singapore (4.69), Myanmar (2.99), Vietnam (1.65), Laos (1.12) and Brunei with over 62,000.

With over 1.3 million COVID-19 cases, the Philippines has the second-highest number of infections and deaths in the region.

Streamlined process

Rizal 2nd district Rep. Juan Fidel Felipe Nograles called on the DOH and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to streamline the authorization process of COVID-19 vaccines to speed up vaccine rollout.

“We need to revisit our processes in the approval and procurement of vaccines in order to guarantee the arrival of the required supply and address the needs of our constituents. There is urgency in pushing for a policy shift to streamline the FDA processes. We have to make them efficient and responsive to the pandemic,” Nograles said.

Deputy speaker Rufus Rodriguez denounced the national government’s response to the COVID-19 situation in Mindanao.

“People died because of the inactivity of the vaccine czar. Let me state that on record! I really feel bad about this. First, no answer to my letter. Secondly, people are dying because they’re giving a lot of vaccines for Metro Manila which are now lowered already in terms of COVID-19 incidents,” Rodriguez stressed.

Meanwhile, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco received his first dose of Sinovac vaccine yesterday. He also vowed to let his 299 colleagues at the House of Representatives get vaccinated as well, alongside House employees and their families. — Rudy Santos, Edu Punay, Delon Porcalla

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