The Philippines will receive more than half a million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, a day after the first batch of 600,000 Sinovac jabs arrives today (Sunday), presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.
Roque said this brings the total number of doses for the initial rollout of the mass vaccination program at over 1.1 million.
Monday’s shipment consists of 525,600 doses of the British-Swedish drugmaker’s vaccine, sourced from the World Health Organization-led Covax Facility.
The Philippines is set to receive on Monday its first doses of British-Swedish drugmaker’s AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine developed with the University of Oxford, Malacañang confirmed to Philstar.com.
The shipment consists of 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca’s shots, which are sourced from the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine is, on the average, 70 percent effective.
As this developed, frontline health care workers will not lose their COVID-19 vaccination priority slots even if they would refuse to get inoculated with the Chinese-based Sinovac Biotech’s vaccines, Roque said.
He said medical frontliners had the privilege to choose the vaccine they want.
“The new protocol is health care workers who do not want Sinovac can refuse to be vaccinated, and they will not lose their priority status when the vaccine they prefer arrive in the country,” Roque said.
Roque, however, clarified that the new rule would only apply to health care workers.
“That’s just for health care workers. So the rest must accept whatever vaccine is available. If they do not like it, they will not be forced to have it,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is considering using a lane designated for bus along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in transporting the Sinovac vaccines to the Health department’s medical facility in Marikina City and the Veteran’s Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.
The six 40-foot container van shipments of vaccines are scheduled to arrive today at the Villamor Air base in Pasay City.
“We can use the bus carousel and if not, the one next to the bus carousel,” said MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos said.
Abalos said personnel from the National Capital Region Police Office and MMDA traffic constables were ready to assist in the security and managing traffic in the area.
He added towing and emergency vehicles would be on standby.
For his part, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco lauded President Duterte’s signing of the COVID-19 vaccination program act.
“This landmark legislation was designed to fast-track the procurement and administration of the life-saving vaccine against the deadly coronavirus to a greater number of Filipinos,” Velasco added.
Local government units in Metro Manila have started the pre-registration and screening process for residents willing to be vaccinated in their respective cities.
“The Parañaque City Government headed by Mayor Edwin Olivarez, thru the City Health Office, is pleased to announce that the COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration is now ongoing,” the city’s public information office stated in its advisory.
In Makati, city officials urged residents to log online and register at SinoVac.SafeMakati.com for official screening and registration.