1.5 million Sinovac doses arrive in Philippines

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star
1.5 million Sinovac doses arrive in Philippines
In this file photo taken on February 24, 2021 vials of the CoronaVac vaccine, developed by China's Sinovac firm, are displayed in Bangkok as the first batch of vaccines to battle the Covid-19 coronavirus arrive in the kingdom.
AFP / Lillian Suwanrumpha

MANILA, Philippines — Government officials welcomed the latest batch of 1.5 million Sinovac vaccine doses which arrived yesterday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF) said that this brings to 14.5 million the total number of Sinovac doses – including the donation of the Chinese government and doses procured by the private sector and local government units (LGUs) – received by the Philippine government.

This latest batch of government-procured Sinovac vaccines arrived at NAIA Terminal 3 at 8:01 a.m. on board a Cebu Pacific flight from Beijing.

Task Force chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. lauded the airline for their assistance.

“This is Cebu Pacific’s second shipment this week and it is a good indication of the collaborative efforts between the government and private sector to fight COVID-19. We are grateful to Cebu Pacific and other carriers for their contribution in the safe and timely distribution of these vaccines,” Galvez said.

Cebu Pacific said the vaccines were inspected upon arrival by authorities prior to transfer to cold storage vans and facilities.

“We are always ready to be part of the government’s initiative to procure and distribute vaccines for the country,” said Alex Reyes, chief strategy officer at Cebu Pacific.

“We are grateful for the trust and opportunity to keep on supporting this national endeavor,” he added.

Since March, the budget carrier has flown over 11.5 million vaccine doses from China to Manila, and over three million doses to 21 provinces in the Philippines, with Tawi-Tawi as the newest recipient.

Over the week, it transported more than 500,000 Sinovac, AstraZeneca and Gamaleya Sputnik V vaccine doses to various provinces from Manila. Last Wednesday, Cebu Pacific also safely airlifted one million Sinovac doses from Beijing to Manila.

Dr. Ariel Valencia, director of the Procurement and Supply Chain Management Team of the Department of Health, oversaw the arrival of the Sinovac shipment. He said the vaccines will be distributed to LGUs after a certificate of analysis has been issued for the shipment.

From NAIA, the vaccines will be brought to Pharmaserv, a cold storage facility in Marikina City.

On Friday, the first batch of single-shot Janssen anti-COVID vaccines, consisting of 1,606,600 doses, also arrived in the country.

The Janssen vaccines produced by American pharmaceutical firm Johnson & Johnson were donated by the United States government through the COVAX Facility.

Galvez, Health Sec. Francisco Duque III, Health Usec. Carolina Taino, NTF adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa; John Law, US embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires; Sean Callahan, acting USAID mission director; Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov, UNICEF Representative to the Philippines and Dr. Rajendra Yadav, WHO Philippines officer-in-charge and medical officer, witnessed the arrival of the Jansen vaccines.

The latest shipment brings to 24,788,110 the anti-COVID vaccine doses received by the Philippines from different manufacturers since February.

Currently, the Philippines has six COVID-19 vaccines brands in its supply inventory, including CoronaVac from China’s Sinovac, AstraZeneca from the UK, Sputnik V from Russia’s Gamaleya and the US made Pfizer, Moderna and J&J vaccines.

Also on Friday, the Philippines received the first shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines purchased by the private sector and LGUs.

The flight carrying 1,150,800 doses arrived at the NAIA Terminal 1 past 10 a.m. and was welcomed by Galvez, Duque, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion and British embassy in Manila deputy head of mission Alastair Totty.

These LGU and private sector-procured vaccines were secured through the “A Dose of Hope” initiative led by Concepcion under the tripartite agreement signed between the private sector, LGUs, national government and biopharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.

This latest shipment brings the total number of AstraZeneca doses delivered to the Philippines to 6,858,900, of which 1,124,100 doses were donated by the Japanese government, while the 4,584,000 doses came from the COVAX Facility. – Richmond Mercurio

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