MANILA (UPDATE) - A shipment of 38,400 more doses of British-Swedish drug firm AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in the country on Sunday through the COVAX Facility, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez confirmed Saturday.
Galvez said the doses, the remainder of the total 525,600 shots under the initial COVAX allocation for the Philippines, will arrive around 7 p.m. The first batch with 487,200 shots arrived on Thursday.
"'Yung ating inaantay na bakuna from COVAX, at ito 487,200 more or less. [Ang original] na darating ay 525,600. I would also like to tell the public, 'yung kulang ay darating po bukas na more or less 7 p.m."
(The original vaccine doses that will arrive in the country is still 525,600 and we are waiting for it from the COVAX. The remaining doses will arrive tomorrow around 7 p.m.)
The development was confirmed by Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, who said the remainder would finally complete the first tranche from the vaccine-sharing platform.
"'Yung natira pa pong 38,000 plus na dapat makabuo nitong kumpletong 500 plus na unang tranche natin from COVAX, ito lang po ang darating bukas so idadagdag lang po natin 'yan sa mga allocation na ginagawa natin ngayon," Vergeire explained in a public briefing.
(The remaining 38,000 plus doses will complete the first tranche we have received from COVAX. These will arrive tomorrow and we will just add this to the allocation we have right now.)
The arrival of AstraZeneca's vaccine, which was first expected to reach the country on Monday, was postponed to Thursday because of limited supply, according to officials.
In welcoming the initial shipment on Thursday, World Health Organization (WHO) country representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe said the Philippines should expect another 4.5 million doses of AstraZeneca jabs to arrive in May through the COVAX Facility.
The AstraZeneca shipment on Thursday was the second batch of vaccines to officially reach the country following the arrival of COVID-19 jabs from China's Sinovac last Sunday.
The Philippines, which has among the highest cases of COVID-19 in Asia, aims to inoculate 70 million of its population to achieve herd immunity.
- With a report from Isay Reyes and Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News