The second batch of Sinovac’s anti-coronavirus vaccines donated by China arrived in the Philippines on Wednesday morning amid the surge in Covid-19 cases.
An additional 400,000 vaccine doses arrived at 7:21 a.m. via the Philippine Airlines Boeing 777 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2.
It was the second batch of vaccines from China, succeeding the 600,000 doses shipped on February 28, which were used in the rollout of the country’s vaccination drive the following day.
Among those who welcomed the vaccines, dubbed “CoronaVac,” at the NAIA were Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian, and Senator Bong Go, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health.
In a statement, Duque said the arrival of the vaccines “could not have occurred at a more opportune time considering the continued rise in cases, which in turn increases the need to inoculate more high-risk individuals as soon as possible.”
“We shall see to it that all of our healthcare workers, not just in the National Capital Region but in the whole country, are given the protection they need and deserve for being at the forefront of the battle against the virus,” he said.
Galvez said the arrival of the additional CoronaVac vaccines is a “testament that when all nations are working together, we can surmount any challenges ahead.”
“The Philippine government will continue to strengthen its collaboration with China to put an end to this pandemic finally,” he said.
The second batch of Sinovac’s vaccines were in addition to the 1,125,600 doses which were shipped to the country, composed of 600,000 Sinovac doses and 526,000 AstraZeneca doses delivered in two batches by the COVAX Facility.
Galvez said 98 percent or 1,105,500 of the total vaccines available were deployed in the country.
At least 408,995 Filipinos or 22 percent of the total 1.8 million medical frontliners have been inoculated as of Tuesday, 23 days into the country’s immunization program.
It means that on average, at least 17,782 Filipinos were vaccinated daily against Covid-19 since the immunization program began on March 1.
The Philippines is expecting to receive about two million Covid-19 vaccine doses by the end of the month.
Of these, one million shots were procured from China’s Sinovac and 979,200 doses are the additional donated AstraZeneca doses through COVAX Facility.
The Philippines’ tally of Covid-19 cases rose to 677,653 on Tuesday after the Department of Health reported 5,867 new infections.
The country has been reporting 7,000 new infections daily in the past week.