covid 19 / Philippines

Close to 14M vaccines expected to arrive in Q2: Galvez


Vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr. (Presidential Photo)

MANILA (Philippines News Agency)– The government is working hard to ensure that the country can secure almost 14 million vaccine doses from four vaccine manufacturers within the second quarter, said vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19.

“The global supply is limited but the government is doing its best to ensure that the country will have a fair share of the vaccines. The instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte is for Filipinos to be vaccinated and save more lives as we collectively surmount the challenges brought about by the pandemic,” Galvez said.

In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, Galvez said the delivery of 1.5 million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac is expected to be completed within April. 

The government is expecting another 500,000 doses to be delivered on April 22, and another 500,000 doses on April 29. 

Sinovac had shipped out 500,000 doses last April 11. These are on top of the 2 million doses that the Chinese vaccine maker had delivered to the country last February and March.

An initial 20,000 doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V are also expected to arrive this week. The second tranche of 480,000 doses will be delivered before the end of April.

Galvez said the government is also expecting the shipment of 195,000 Pfizer vaccine doses by the end of April or early May.

He said there is also a possibility that AstraZeneca vaccines coming from the COVAX Facility will also arrive within the month. 

For May, Galvez said the government expects at least 2 million doses of Sinovac vaccines to be delivered to the country, along with 1 to 2 million Sputnik V doses, and 194,000 Moderna doses. 

He said the government is also working with the World Health Organization, GAVI, and UNICEF for the possible delivery of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines under the COVAX Facility.

Galvez said the government expects to receive 7 to 8 million vaccine doses in June. These include 4.5 million doses of CoronaVac, 2 million doses of Sputnik V, and 1.3 million doses of AstraZeneca. 

“With the arrival of these vaccines, we will continue our aggressive vaccine roll-out in the county to protect the Filipino from Covid-19,” Galvez said.

As of April 18, a total of 1,477,757 vaccine doses have been administered in the country. Currently, only medical front-liners, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities are being inoculated. 

Starting mid-May or June, the government will allow the inoculation of other essential workers. 

The Philippines ranks third among countries in Asean in the number of citizens that have been vaccinated, while the country has placed 41st out of 173 countries worldwide in the same category and 14th among 47 Asian nations.

At present, the government has signed contracts with five vaccine manufacturers, which include Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Novovax and Gamaleya. Contracts with Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer are being finalized. 

Galvez said the country expects a steady supply of about 10 million to 15 million vaccine doses per month in the third and fourth quarters of this year.  

In response, Duterte lauded the government’s vaccination rollout, saying it is “more than an acceptable performance in the matter of the fight against Covid as far as the Philippines is concerned.”

“Maganda ang record natin (We have a good record) despite unfounded criticism…The Philippines was able to get the upper berth of the countries that are inoculated. Maganda ang record na ‘yan (That’s a good record) and to think people were almost in a quandary where to get the next vaccination,” the President said.

“Nakita mo naman hindi pala tayo ang pinakamahina at mataas ‘yung atin (We are not the weakest) and it goes to show that we are really working very hard especially Sec. Galvez to get the vaccines here in the Philippines on time,” he added.

The global vaccine supply has remained limited, with the situation being compounded by the inequitable distribution of vaccines. 

Galvez said the government is closely working with other nations through diplomatic channels for the country to get a steady and secure supply of vaccine to realize its target of inoculating 50 to 70 million adult Filipinos and enable the nation to achieve herd immunity by year-end.

Meantime, Galvez also announced that the NTF Against Covid-19 is preparing for the “long haul” to ensure the sustainability of its anti-Covid efforts.

He said the NTF is focusing on improving the country’s PDITR strategy, which stands for Prevent, Detect, Trace, Test, Isolate, Treat and Reintegrate.

Galvez said part of the plan is to provide greater protection to the public, while scaling up the nation’s anti-Covid vaccine program. 

These measures include the rolling out of the Medicine Package, Telemedicine, Home Service following the Peru and India models, and the establishment of mega vaccination sites that will give NCR Plus areas the capability to inoculate at least 120,000 individuals a day by June.

Galvez said the government would continue to build more ICU rooms, provide additional hospital beds for severe and moderate Cover-19 cases, construct more temporary treatment and monitoring facilities, and ramp up its human resources support for healthcare facilities.

Galvez said the government would continue to implement the “Hammer and Dance” strategy as a strategy to contain and mitigate the surge in cases.

This approach, he said, aims to save lives while reviving the nation’s economy by enforcing granular lockdowns and strictly implementing health protocols in public and private establishments. (PR)

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