MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines will be receiving at least 5.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility, the country's "vaccine czar" said Sunday.
National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said the vaccines, produced by Pfizer and AstraZeneca, are expected to arrive in the country as early as the first quarter of the year.
"Today, we received a letter from Aurélia Nguyen, managing director of the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility, officially informing the Philippine government that the country stands to receive a total of 9,407,400 doses from the two pharmaceutical makers within the projected first and second quarters of this year," Galvez said in a statement.
The Philippines will be receiving 117,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and between 5,500,800 to 9,290,400 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the WHO-led COVAX Facility.
"I would like to emphasize that according to COVAX, the number of doses and the projected arrival of the vaccines are all indicative since it all depends on the global supply," Galvez said.
The country's Food and Drug Administration have previously granted emergency use authorizations to both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.
With these current developments, Galvez urged the public to "set their fears aside" and accept the vaccines once available.
"We would therefore like to urge all Filipinos to set their fears aside and have themselves inoculated once these vaccines are available. Again, we would like to assure our countrymen that all the vaccines the government will be administering must pass the stringent selection and evaluation process of the Vaccine Expert Panel, FDA, and the Department of Health," he explained.
Galvez also said that with the vaccines from the COVAX Facility, the country can now inoculate health workers, medical personnel and other frontliners.
"This positive news is a testament that under the COVAX facility, it ensures equitable distribution of vaccines throughout the globe, which bodes well for the Duterte’s administration principle of “Walang maiiwan, walang iwanan” (No one will be left behind)," Galvez said.
The Philippines, which has already logged more than 500,000 COVID-19 cases, aims to inoculate up to 70 million individuals to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus.