Philippines may get Pfizer COVID-19 shots in ‘couple of weeks’: envoy

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 05 2021 01:46 PM | Updated as of Mar 05 2021 03:00 PM

A health care worker of ASL Roma 1 holds a syringe with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign, as the country sees a surge in the number of infections, in Rome, Italy, March 4, 2021. Guglielmo Mangiapane, Reuters

MANILA — The Philippines may receive COVID-19 shots from US-based Pfizer through vaccine-sharing COVAX Facility in "the next couple of weeks," an envoy said on Friday. 

This, as the Philippines continued its inoculation drive on its first week, following vaccine shipments from China's Sinovac on Sunday, a donation by the Chinese government, and AstraZeneca on Thursday, the first batch from the vaccine-sharing platform. 

The lack of an indemnity deal had delayed the supposed arrival in mid-February of 117,000 Pfizer doses from the COVAX scheme. 

“Medyo nagkaroon lang ng kaunting delay pero darating din daw,” said Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez, quoting vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. 

“It’s supposed to be coming to the Philippines within the next couple of weeks,” Romualdez said in a televised public briefing. 

While Romualdez declined to detail the cause of delay, he said, “It takes time, but we’re not far behind, as some people think. We’re not far behind from many countries.” 

“Sa totoo lang (in truth), we’re actually better off than many countries,” he added. 

Video courtesy of PTV 

The Philippines will buy 20 million COVID-19 shots from another American manufacturer, Moderna, with the help of Philippine private firms, said Romualdez.

“We already concluded the agreement... We’re threshing out the supply, kung kailan nila puwedeng i-deliver (when they could deliver),” he said.

The Philippines hopes to get its initial Moderna vaccine batch in late May or early June, he said. 

US-based Johnson & Johnson also committed at least 6 million doses of its one-shot vaccine to the Philippines, said Romualdez. However, the firm cannot commit to a delivery date yet because it has to prioritize supplying the US, he said. 

The Philippines has received 600,000 COVID-19 shots that China donated from Beijing-based drug group Sinovac Biotech, and another 487,200 doses from Britain's AstraZeneca through the COVAX Facility.