16.2M vaccines, including over 3M J&J shots donated by US, arriving this month — Galvez


MANILA, Philippines — More than three million doses of the single-shot coronavirus jab developed by Johnson&Johnson are expected to reach the Philippines this month, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said Tuesday. 

The total 3,024,000 shots are donations from the US coursed through the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility, Galvez told members of the government's pandemic task force during a prerecorded meeting. 

"What we will do [is ensure] that there will be equitable distribution," Galvez said as he delivered updates in Filipino. "These J&J shots from COVAX, we will give the regions at least 100,000 doses [each] so that it is equitable."

"And then, later on, we will distribute the remaining 1.2 million [vaccines] based on the population and in the master-listed A2 and then A3 [categories]," he added, referring to senior citizens and people with comorbidities. 

J&J last week said its single-shot vaccine is effective against the highly contagious Delta variant, with an immune response lasting at least eight months. 

Inoculation in NCR slows due to dwindling supply 

Feeling the bite of a slowly-dwindling jab supply, some Metro Manila city governments recently moved to limit their inoculation programs' vaccine coverage or stop them altogether. 

On Tuesday, Galvez, who previously said he expects the country to have a steady supply of vaccines for the rest of the year, urged local governments to prioritize the use of Sinovac jabs as second doses instead of first ones. 

But on Tuesday, Galvez said expected "deliveries in July are more or less 16,205,240 doses," bringing the Philippines' stockpile by the end of the month up to 33,660,710 vaccines. 

In addition to the J&J shots, Galvez said this month's deliveries will be composed of of Sputnik V, AstraZeneca -- some of which were donated by Japan and others procured by the private sector through tripartite deals -- Moderna, Sinovac and Pfizer. 

He added that another 14 million vaccines are expected to arrive in August. 

A total of 12 million Filipinos — 10.9% of the population — have received at least one coronavirus shot since the government launched its inoculation campaign in March, National Task Force Against COVID-19 deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon said, citing data as of July 6. 

While Dizon failed to mention how many have been fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, NTF data as of July 4 shows that only 2.60% of the population — 2,868,905 people — have received the two doses needed for full inoculation.

Authorities have said that 70% of the population must be fully vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.  

— Bella Perez-Rubio 



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