The Philippines on Sunday received more than 5 million doses of Sinovac and Pfizer coronavirus vaccines, bringing the total number of life-saving shots delivered to the country to 62.359 million since February.
At 6 p.m. on Sunday, 3 million doses of China-made Sinovac vaccine, procured by the national government, arrived onboard Philippine Airlines flight PR359 at the NAIA Terminal 2 while 2.020 million of Pfizer, donated by the United States government through COVAX Facility, arrived shortly before midnight at Terminal 3 via Emirates flight EK2520.
National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., who welcomed both deliveries, thanked the US government for its support of the country’s vaccination program and overall pandemic response.
Among those who welcomed the Pfizer delivery include US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava, US Embassy Acting Mission Director Sean Callahan, World Health Organization country representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe and Dr. Malalay Ahmadzai, chief of Health and Nutrition at UNICEF Philippines.
”The United States has provided now 16 million doses through COVAX, 8 million of that directly from the people of the United States. And we are also very happy that the United States has been able to contribute P1.9 billion to the Philippines for treatment, for testing and equipment like ICU beds and other things. We expect more in the coming weeks,” Variava said.
Meantime, the Sinovac shipment would be distributed to Regions 3, 4-A (Calabarzon), 7, 11 and the National Capital Region, Galvez said.
A total of 36 million Sinovac doses have been delivered to the country so far, with about 34.100 million doses procured by the national government, NTF data show.
With more available vaccines, Galvez hopes that senior citizens would take the life-saving shots, saying the government has been facing challenges in vaccinating the vulnerable sector.
“One of the challenges is that the seniors are afraid to go out because of the high number of Covid-19 cases,” he said in Filipino.
“Once the numbers go down the elderly would be more encouraged to go out,” Galvez added in Filipino.
Nearly 46 million vaccine doses of the 62.35 million that arrived were procured while the rest were donated by China, the US, United Arab Emirates and the COVAX Facility.
The Philippines uses Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen in its vaccination program.