2.8 million doses of Sputnik V arrive in the Philippines

2.8 million doses of Sputnik V arrive in the Philippines
President Rodrigo Duterte receives a shipment of some 2.8 million COVID-19 vaccines developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute on November 8, 2021.
Screen grab / PTV Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — Over 2.8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute arrived in the Philippines on Monday night. 

The doses procured by the government landed at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City and were received by President Rodrigo Duterte along with members of his Cabinet and Marat Pavlov, the Russian envoy to the Philippines. 

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said this latest shipment brings the number of Sputnik V shots received by the country to 7.19 million out of the total 10 million procured by the government. He added that the vaccines would benefit more than 3.5 million individuals. 

"Tonight, we are pleased to receive one of the biggest shipment[s] of the Sputnik V vaccines to the country to date," he said. "This latest delivery brings us closer to completing our procurement contract with [Russian Direct Investment Fund]." 

"As we have said time and again, vaccine supply is no longer a problem," Galvez added. "The greater challenge we are facing right now is how to get the COVID-19 jab into the arms of as many Filipinos as possible." 

As of this writing, the government has fully vaccinated just 29.48 million or 27.03% of Filipinos against COVID-19. This is a long way from the 90% health authorities say must be fully inoculated to attain herd immunity in the country. 

Another 34.72 million people or 31.84% of the population have received the first dose. 

Galvez said the government hopes to fully vaccinate some 50 million Filipinos before the year ends.

While the government's vaccination program had a slow start due to supply issues, government officials and agencies have been gradually pushing to make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government has proposed making COVID-19 vaccination a requirement for beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, a conditional cash transfer program to encourage the poorest Filipinos to keep their children in school and to bring them to health centers for checkups.

The proposal has not been received well, with senators saying it made the DILG  seem "detached from reality and unaware of the real plight of the poor." 

 — Bella Perez-Rubio 

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