MANILA (UPDATED) - The Philippines is set to receive more than 2 million additional COVID-19 vaccine doses from Sinovac and AstraZeneca before the month ends, the country's vaccine czar said Monday.
According to Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr., the Philippines will be receiving 400,000 additional doses of Sinovac's vaccine on Wednesday, March 24, with another 1 million Sinovac doses expected to arrive by March 29.
The country will also get 979,200 doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine between March 24 to 26.
"According to WHO [World Health Organization], 'yung ating supply ay nasa Europe na po, 'yung 979,200. Naghihintay na lang po tayo ng kaniyang deployment going to the Philippines," Galvez said.
(According to WHO, our supply is already in Europe, the 979,200 doses. We are just waiting for its deployment to the Philippines.)
This accounts for a total of 2,379,200 COVID-19 vaccine doses expected to arrive before the end of the month.
By the second quarter of the year, Galvez said around 5,500,000 million doses will arrive by April. These will come from Sinovac (between 1.5 to 2 million doses), Gamaleya (3 million doses) and from the COVAX Facility (1 million doses).
More than 8.9 million vaccine doses from various companies are also expected to arrive by May, and another 11.5 million doses by June.
The vaccines arriving in the second quarter of the year include those purchased by the private sector, Galvez said.
By July, the country is expecting 13.5 million vaccine doses, with an additional 20 million doses each month expected by August until the end of the year.
Galvez also said that by April to May, the government is expected to inoculate between 500,000 to 1 million people per week, and increasing it to 1 million to 2 million per week by June to July.
"Katulad ng ginagawa ng Indonesia at saka ng US, na initially, sa unang first two months, medyo may kabagalan pero once naka-ano po tayo, nagkaroon na po tayo ng experience curve, tataas na po ang ating mga bilang," Galvez said.
(Just like what they are doing in Indonesia and the US, initially, in the first two months, the inoculation is a bit slow but once we have an experience curve, we will increase the number of vaccinations.)
Galvez, likewise, said the government is now working on ensuring that the Philippines will have a steady supply of vaccines in the coming months.
Meanwhile, Galvez is proposing the implementation of simultaneous vaccinations to balance the safety of healthcare workers and sustain the economy.
"We are balancing the safety of our healthcare workers and at the same time, we are trying to sustain the economy," he said.
"Ang nakita po natin dapat talaga 'yung private sector at 'yung government, 'yung national government, ay sabay-sabay po tayong mag-inoculate," Galvez added.
(What we saw is that the private sector and the government should do simultaneous inoculation.)
The Department of Health earlier said it has vaccinated a total of 369,049 people and has deployed almost all of the COVID-19 vaccines that have arrived in the Philippines.
The country has so far received 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX Facility and 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines donated by China.
The Philippines plans to inoculate up to 70 million Filipinos by the end of the year.