The Philippines on Friday received 739,200 doses of donated Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine from China, raising the country’s stockpile to 47.26 million doses.
The new shipment, which was part of the one million donated vaccine doses by the Chinese government, landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 past 5:40 p.m. via PAL flight PR359.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian personally welcomed the first batch of vaccine shots. The remaining doses were expected to be delivered on Saturday.
The latest Sinopharm shipment raised Beijing’s total donation to a little over two million doses.
China, the biggest supplier of vaccines in the country, previously donated at least one million Sinovac doses — and 1,000 Sinopharm doses for President Rodrigo Duterte’s security detail.
The President, who himself was vaccinated with the Sinopharm vaccine earlier this year, has repeatedly thanked the Chinese government for its donation and acknowledged his supposed “great debt” to Beijing.
Given in two doses (0.5 mL each) intramuscularly, the Sinopharm jab yielded a 79-percent efficacy rate against Covid-19 based on the interim data of its Phase 3 clinical trials. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates Phase 3 trials showed it had an 86 percent efficacy rate.
The jab has been widely used in China and the UAE. It is administered on individuals aged 18 years and above with an interval of about one month.
The Philippines has yet to enter into formal negotiations with Sinopharm to procure Covid-19 vaccines.
Also on Friday, the country welcomed the arrival of a total of 582,500 more doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine procured by local government units and the private sector via a tripartite agreement with the national government.
The latest shipment arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 around 9:20 a.m. via China Airlines flight CI701.
So far, 8.3 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine have been delivered to the country.
Based on the latest government data, over 12.74 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, while 15.56 million individuals were waiting for their second doses.