WHO: 9-M COVID vaccine doses from COVAX could arrive in PH by March, April

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 04 2021 08:08 PM

MANILA—The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said the country could receive up to 9.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from AstraZeneca through the COVAX Facility by March or April this year. 

In a statement sent by the health department, WHO Representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said the country would receive the doses through the facilities as long as "all requirements are met." 

But the Department of Health (DOH) clarified the doses to be provided were still subject to AstraZeneca's completion of WHO's emergency use listing requirements.

Led by the WHO and GAVI vaccine alliance, the global COVAX initiative aims to ensure equal distribution of vaccines. 

"We believe that the Philippines is on track to do that, we are looking potentially at a maximum of 9.2 million doses coming through the COVAX facility by March or April of this year," Abeyasinghe was quoted in the statement as saying.

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"We are optimistic that the remainder of the 44 million doses will come later on in the year,” he added. 

The delivery, meanwhile, will happen as soon as the government accomplishes the necessary arrangements needed by COVAX, according to the statement. 

The requirements will also be needed for a “smooth rollout” from vaccine manufacturers Pfizer BioNTech and AstraZeneca, through the initiative. 

The WHO representative earlier said that the vaccine doses from the initiative were no longer free, citing the “scale of purchase.” But the official said the cost would be “minimal,” describing the move as co-financing. 

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez also said earlier that the Philippines is set to receive 117,000 initial doses of Pfizer jabs from the COVAX facility. 

The country's Food and Drug Administration have previously granted emergency use authorizations to both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.