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1.8 million Pfizer vaccine doses donated by US arrive

Rudy Santos - The Philippine Star
1.8 million Pfizer vaccine doses donated by US arrive
Pre-cleared by the Bureau of Customs, the shipment of 1,813,500 Pfizer doses was flown in by US National Air Cargo Airlines flight N8 523 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 at 4:13 a.m.
AFP / Pascal Guyot

MANILA, Philippines — A donation of over 1.8 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from the United States government arrived yesterday, boosting the country’s supply for this month.

Pre-cleared by the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the shipment of 1,813,500 Pfizer doses was flown in by US National Air Cargo Airlines flight N8 523 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 at 4:13 a.m.

Last Friday, the US announced it was sending its donation to the Philippines of 5,575,050 COVID-19 vaccine doses in five shipments, under the facilitation of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s COVAX program.

Washington said it understands that putting an end to the pandemic requires eliminating it around the world and that the US donations represent “the largest-ever purchase and donation of vaccines by a single country.”

The Philippines has recorded more than 2.5 million infections, including over 38,000 deaths. Just over a quarter of the adult population has been fully vaccinated amid a delayed and slow vaccination rollout hampered by supply.

Vaccine deliveries hit 77.4 M

Yesterday’s delivery brought to 2.7 million the total vaccine doses that arrived in the country over the weekend and pushed total deliveries since February to 77,410,640 doses.

“And by the end of October, we project that the country would have received a total of 100 million vaccine doses, which could fully inoculate about 50 million Filipinos,” said vaccine czar and National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr.

“This brings us closer to our goal of achieving herd immunity or population protection for us to safely exit from this pandemic as soon as possible,” he added.

On Saturday, the US government through the COVAX Facility also delivered 889,200 shots of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

Galvez said that these latest shipments of Pfizer vaccines will be deployed outside Metro Manila such as Central Luzon and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon).

He said millions of doses of Pfizer, Moderna and Sinovac vaccines are coming in this month which the government had procured along with those committed by the COVAX Facility. The bulk of these supplies from COVAX were donated by the US.

“Over the course of the next couple of days, we will see 5.5 million more doses arrive in the Philippines, both here in Manila but also down in Cebu and Davao,” said US Chargé d’Affaires Heather Variava.

The succeeding deliveries of vaccines will be directly deployed to Central Visayas and Davao region, said Galvez.

As of Oct. 2, the National Vaccination Operations Center has logged a total of 24,513,343 doses administered as the first shot, while 21,737,744 jabs were for the second dose. – Neil Jayson Servallos

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