At least 38,400 doses of AstraZeneca arrived in the Philippines last night as part of the 525,600 doses of vaccines earlier committed by the World Health Organization (WHO) under its COVAX facility.
Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. welcomed the arrival of the vaccines which were transported by a KLM commercial plane and landed at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 Sunday night.
“He (President Rodrigo Duterte Duterte) was not part of the welcoming party since the 38,400 doses were only part of the 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines. As you noticed earlier, the first tranche that arrived this week only totaled to 487,200. These are the remaining doses as the commercial flight has only limited capacity,” Galvez said.
The vaccine shots will be transported to Metropac, Marikina City, where it would be stored prior to deployment.
The vaccines were manufactured in South Korea, and have been donated by Germany, European Union, Norway, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Austria and Greece.
At the same time, Galvez said that at least 331,000 doses of Sinovac were deployed nationwide while the vaccination program in Metro Manila for the first dose of Sinovac vaccine was already completed.
Galvez said that for the second quarter of 2021, the government is expecting an additional 19 million doses of vaccine and additional 60 million each for third quarter and four quarter of 2021 with the expected arrival of the orders from at least seven pharmaceutical companies.
“With the arrival of the Astrazeneca vaccines in the country — all 525,600 doses — there is no doubt that the WHO-led COVAX is committed to carry out its crucial role of ensuring that less-developed nations have equitable access to life-saving vaccines,” said Galvez.
“Truly, the facility has become a beacon of hope among people across the globe who want greater protection against the deadly virus and dream of reclaiming the livelihoods they have lost to the pandemic,” he added.
He called on all Filipinos to register and get immunized as soon as the vaccines are available in their areas as there has been a spike in the number of active Covid-19 cases in the country in the past few days.
Medical experts have attributed the spike to the new coronavirus variants that have emerged.
“As we have emphasized time and again, we must not let our guard down. Even if the vaccines have already arrived, we must still continue to observe minimum health standards — the wearing of masks, maintaining social distancing, and practicing proper hygiene,” Galvez said.
“Getting inoculated is not only for your protection, but for your loved ones, your community, and your country. With the support and cooperation of the entire nation, we will be able to ease community quarantine restrictions, revive our economy, and bring back a greater sense of normalcy in the lives of our countrymen,” he added.