More than 2 million doses of AstraZeneca have arrived in the Philippines from the Covax Facility, the international partnership established to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world.
The Department of Health on Saturday said the shipment was an add-on to the half a million doses delivered in March and was part of the 4.5 million total doses committed to the Philippines from Covax.
“Now that these 2 million vaccine doses have arrived, we urge our kababayans to get their second dose of AstraZeneca vaccines,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
“If you are already in the priority group but have not yet registered with your LGU, please contact your LGU or barangay to get vaccinated. Vaccination is our additional armament against the severe form of COVID-19 and will help decrease hospitalizations.”
Meanwhile, Duque has ordered his agency to seek emergency use authorization for Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine so the country won’t have to return a batch of donations from China as the President had ordered following backlash over his inoculation with the brand.
An EUA would allow a vaccine under development to be used for the government vaccination program.
At the same time, the Philippines is expecting around 193,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, Duque said.
Duque said the vaccines would be given to the NCR Plus – composed of the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal – as well as Cebu, Davao, and other major cities that can handle the temperature requirements of Pfizer.
Since the arrival of the first shipment of vaccines from the Covax Facility in March, more than 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the Philippines.
More than 300,000 Filipinos in priority groups have received two doses and are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Each shipment of vaccines from the Covax Facility brings us one step closer to ensuring the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world and Health for All in the Philippines,” said Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO Representative to the Philippines.
“However, vaccines do not replace the important prevention measures we practice now – wearing face masks, avoiding crowded places and settings, frequent handwashing, and remaining physically distant from others.”
Nearly 100 percent of the AstraZeneca vaccines delivered last March have been provided to local government units.
As of May 2, out of the 525,600 doses, 525,337 have been administered to health workers, the elderly, and persons with underlying health conditions.
This new shipment of vaccines will provide second doses to those who have already been administered the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccines, as well as other target populations.
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