The Philippines will have a steady supply of 10 million doses of COVID 19 vaccines by end-June from pharmaceutical firms Sinovac, Moderna, Gamaleya Research Institute and Oxford/AstraZeneca, officials said Thursday.
This emerged as Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the Philippines had administered nearly two million out of the 3,525,600 COVID-19 vaccine doses it already received.
According to National Task Force Against COVID 19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr, the country would receive a first batch of 2.3 million vaccines from US-based Pfizer-BioNTech not later than June.
Moderna is expected to deliver 194,000 doses, Sinovac with 4.5 million doses of CoronaVac, Gamaleya with 2 million doses of Sputnik V, and some 1.3 million doses of AstraZeneca that is part of the first tranche of Covid-19 jabs procured by the private sector through a tripartite agreement, Galvez said.
He said COVAX facility had informed the government that it would deliver 2,385,210 Pfizer jabs not later than June.
Pfizer and Philippine authorities are finalizing a deal on legal immunity and who will shoulder compensation in case of adverse effects from the vaccine, Galvez said.
“Hopefully, early deliveries of the vaccines by May and also AstraZeneca vaccine might be delivered through COVAX. We are doing our best to have these deliveries,” Galvez said.
The Philippines is negotiating for 40 million Pfizer jabs, he added.
The government targets to vaccinate more than half of the population by the end of 2021 to achieve herd community
500,000 Sinovac jabs
The Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) delivered to Manila another government-procured Sinovac vaccine shipment from Beijing.
A total 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Thursday via CEB flight 5J-671.
“This delivery marks our first international vaccine shipment and we are grateful for the trust and confidence of the Department of Health. More importantly, we remain steadfast in our commitment to support our country’s recovery efforts in every way possible,” said Michael Ivan Shau, CEB chief operations officer.
Storage requirements for Sputnik V
Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, will not be distributed to all local government units due to its stringent storage and handling requirements, Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo said Thursday.
Domingo said the vaccine must be kept in specialized freezers at extremely low temperature.
“That really is an issue. That means this Sputnik vaccine is probably going to go to the big city centers or where they have hospitals and they have storage facilities that will be able to hold the minus 18 degrees centigrade vaccines,” Domingo said in an interview with ANC.
“It’s not going to be as widely distributed as Sinovac and AstraZeneca. They will have to be more choosy where to set it,” he said.
Sputnik V has a 91.6 percent effectivity against the coronavirus.
Health reform advocate Anthony Leachon said vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez needed a composite team of experts in pharmaceutical medicine, clinical , regulatory, logistics, distribution, marketing and sales to ensure rapid vaccination roll out.
“Without a complete team, execution will be difficult,” warned Leachon as he stressed that a well-implemented and rapid vaccination program would lead to herd immunity and eventual reopening of the economy and leading normal lives.
According to the former adviser of the government’s National Task Force Against COVID, the Philippines should follow the “Israel experience” in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said if the government could add 5,000 more small vaccination sites that could do 100/doses per day, that would amount to 12 million doses in 24 days.
The Department of Health reported 8,276 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the total to 1,028,738 as one laboratory failed to submit data on time.
According to the DOH, the number of active cases in the country slightly rose to 69,354.
Of this, 94.9 percent are mild, 1.6 percent are asymptomatic, 1.4 percent are severe, and 1.1 percent are in critical condition.
Meanwhile, total recoveries climbed to 942,239 with 6,636 new ones.