By Lade Jean Kabagani
VACCINE ARRIVAL. Boxes containing vials of AstraZeneca vaccines are offloaded from KLM Asia that flew in from Amsterdam on Sunday night (March 7, 2021). The 38,400 doses are part of 525,600 secured through the COVAX Facility. (PNA photo by Robert Alfiler)
MANILA – The Philippines received another 38,400 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines on Sunday night.
The delivery from Amsterdam via a KLM Asia flight arrived around 7 p.m.
National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the deliveries completed the expected 525,600 doses secured by the national government that is part of the first round of allocated doses from the COVAX Facility, a global risk-sharing mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable access to vaccines led by the World Health Organization and Gavi Alliance.
“Sa ngayon meron na po tayong 1.1 million doses para sa ating mga (As of now, we already have 1.1 million doses of vaccines for our) healthcare workers,” Galvez said in an interview at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 in Pasay City.
The vaccine will be immediately deployed to high-risk communities. The initial 487,200 doses arrived on March 4.
A total of 54,500 AstraZeneca doses have been sent to hospitals in National Capital Region (NCR), Region 4-A (Calabarzon) and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).ASTRAZENECA VACCINE ARRIVAL. National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. checks one of the cargoes containing 38,400 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived via KLM Asia from Amsterdam on Sunday night (March 7, 2021) at NAIA Terminal 3. (PNA photo by Robert Alfiler)
NCR got 1,500, Calabarzon received 13,000, CAR 10,000 doses, and Central Luzon 20,000.
“For this week, to all regions, we will be deploying 240,720 doses,” he said.
Based on the resolution submitted by the Department of Health and the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group, the government will prioritize vaccine deployment to Covid-19 high risks areas such as NCR, Central Visayas, Calabarzon, Region 11 (Davao) and other areas in CAR.
“With the arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccines in the country — all 525,600 doses — there is no doubt that the WHO-led COVAX is committed to carry out its crucial role of ensuring that less-developed nations have equitable access to life-saving vaccines,” Galvez said.
He cited the recommendations made by the vaccine expert panel and President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to allocate all the vaccines arriving this month to healthcare workers.
“The Duterte administration is doing its best to secure the vaccine doses it would need to inoculate all medical front-liners and healthcare workers in the country within this month,” he said.
The government is targeting to complete the inoculation of healthcare workers within March and start with other priority sectors by April. (PNA)