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COVID-19 WATCH

Phl receives more Chinese vax

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The Philippines on Saturday received 1.26 million more Covid-19 vaccine doses from Chinese pharmaceutical firms, raising the country’s stockpile to 48.52 million doses.

The shipment, which included 1 million Sinovac doses procured by the government and 260,800 Sinopharm doses donated by China, landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 via Philippine Airlines flight PR361

Ariel Valencia, director of the Department of Health’s procurement and supply chain management team, and Wilben Mayor, assistant secretary of the presidential adviser on the peace process, personally welcomed the vaccine shots.

The delivery is expected to boost the government’s inoculation efforts as the country continues to grapple with an increase in coronavirus infections and the threat of new Covid-19 variants.

Mayor said the new batch of vaccine doses would be distributed to regions and provinces with spikes in Covid-19 cases.

The bulk of the Philippines’ vaccine supply consists of Sinovac vaccines, which accounted for 26.5 million of all doses.

Meanwhile, 1.1 million doses of Sinopharm shots have been delivered to the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who himself was vaccinated with the Sinopharm vaccine earlier this year, has repeatedly thanked China for supplying Covid-19 vaccines to the country.

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr, who is also Duterte’s peace adviser, previously said that the government would focus on procuring more shots manufactured in the United States, including those made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

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.

The Philippines aims to vaccinate up to 70 million by the end of the year to achieve “population protection” against Covid-19.

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