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Gov’t eyes donation of 3M Sputnik vaccine; 1M expired AstraZeneca to be replaced — NTF adviser

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The government is preparing to donate a total of three million Sputnik Covid-19 vaccine vials, an adviser to the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) said Friday.

In the Laging Handa public briefing, Dr. Ted Herbosa, an adviser to the NTF, said that the government is preparing to donate three million Sputnik V vaccines to its Southeast Asian neighbors and some African countries.

Earlier, Malacanang said the Philippines will continue its plan to donate “excess” COVID-19 vaccines that are due to expire to Myanmar.

Meanwhile, Herbosa said some one million donated AstraZeneca coronavirus shots from the vaccine-sharing platform COVAX Facility have expired.

However, he assured the public that COVAX will replace the expired vaccines.

“We also have, I think, 1 million expired AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX which expired but they promised to replace them. We’re just waiting for the replacement,” he said.

Last month, the Department of Health said that only less than two percent of the country’s around 244 million Covid-19 vaccines had been wasted.

Herbosa urged the public to get their booster shots due to the possible emergence of more transmissible variants of Covid-19.

Later on the day, the Philippines reported the country’s first cases of the more transmissible Omicron BA.2.12.1 subvariant in Metro Manila and Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

Last month, the country reported its first case of BA.2.12 in April in a 52-year-old Finnish woman, who went to Baguio City and Quezon City for a series of seminars.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that these two Omicron subvariants are more transmissible than the original Omicron variant and have the possibility of immune escape.

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