MANILA - The Philippines may receive nearly 14 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from 4 pharmaceutical companies within the second quarter this year, the head of the country's inoculation strategy said.
In his report to the President on Monday, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the delivery of 1.5 million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac is expected to be completed within April.
Some 500,000 doses may arrive on April 22, followed by another 500,000 doses on April 29, he said.
The Chinese drug maker had shipped out 500,000 doses on April 11. These are on top of the 2 million doses that Sinovac had delivered to the country in February and March.
An initial 20,000 doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V are also expected to arrive this week. The second tranche of 480,000 doses will be delivered before the end of April, Galvez said.
The Philippine government is also expecting the shipment of 195,000 Pfizer vaccine doses by the end of April or early May.
Anti-coronavirus jabs developed by AstraZeneca may also arrive within the month from the vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX facility, he added.
For the month of May, Galvez said he expects at least 2 million doses of Sinovac vaccines to be delivered to the country, along with 1 to 2 million shots from Gamaleya and 194,000 shots from Moderna.
He said the government was also working with the World Health Organization, Gavi and United Nations Children’s Fund for the possible delivery of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines under the COVAX facility.
In June, the Philippines expects to receive 7 to 8 million vaccine doses in June, Galvez said. These include 4.5 million doses of Sinovac, 2 million doses of Sputnik V and 1.3 million doses of AstraZeneca.
“With the arrival of these vaccines, we will continue our aggressive vaccine roll-out in the county to protect the Filipino from COVID-19,” the vaccine czar said.
As of April 18, more than 1.4 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country. Currently, only medical frontliners, senior citizens and persons with comorbidities are being inoculated.
Starting mid-May or June, the government will allow the inoculation of other essential workers.
To date, five vaccine makers have obtained regulatory approval for emergency use in the country. They are Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Gamaleya Institute and Johnson & Johnson.
In the third and fourth quarters of the year, the Philippines may receive a steady supply of about 10 to 15 million vaccine doses per month, Galvez said.
Despite criticism, President Rodrigo Duterte lauded the government’s vaccination rollout, saying it is “more than an acceptable performance in the matter of the fight against COVID as far as the Philippines is concerned.”
“Maganda ang record natin despite unfounded criticism... The Philippines was able to get the upper berth of the countries that are inoculated. Maganda ang record na ‘yan and to think people were almost in a quandary where to get the next vaccination,” the President said.
The global vaccine supply has remained limited, with the situation being compounded by the inequitable distribution of vaccines. The Philippine government aims to inoculate 70 million adult Filipinos to achieve herd immunity.
Meanwhile, Galvez also announced that the National Task Force Against COVID-19 was preparing for the “long haul” to ensure the sustainability of its anti-COVID efforts.
He said the NTF was focusing on improving the country’s PDITR strategy, which stands for Prevent, Find, Trace, Test, Isolate, Treat and Recover.
These measures include the rolling out of the medicine package, telemedicine and home service, and the establishment of mega vaccination sites that will give NCR Plus areas the capability to inoculate at least 120,000 individuals daily by June.
Galvez said the government would also continue to build more ICU rooms, provide additional hospital beds for severe and moderate COVID-19 cases, construct more temporary treatment and monitoring facilities, and ramp up its human resources support for health-care facilities.