PH expecting 'accelerated delivery' of COVID-19 vaccines starting May: vaccine czar

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 25 2021 10:37 AM | Updated as of Apr 25 2021 10:59 AM

PH expecting 'accelerated delivery' of COVID-19 vaccines starting May: vaccine czar 1
Arrival of 1 million Sinovac vaccine doses at the NAIA on March 29, the first batch of vaccines purchased by the Philippine government. PCOO-OGMPA

MANILA - The Philippines is expecting an "accelerated delivery" of COVID-19 vaccines starting May even as global production of the jabs is seen to stabilize only in June, the country's vaccine czar said Sunday.

"Magkakaroon po tayo ng tinatawag na accelerated deliveries this coming May and June. This coming May, baka magkakaroon po tayo ng 7-8 million. Inaantay lang natin, kasi na-delay po yung sa COVAX," Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(We will have accelerated deliveries this coming May and June. This coming May, we are expecting 7-8 million vaccine doses. We are waiting for the supply because there was a delay in the delivery from the COVAX Facility.)

The global production and delivery of the vaccines were affected by rising COVID-19 cases in countries where these are made such as India and Europe, said Galvez.

"Just in case magkaroon tayo ng added supplies sa COVAX, aabot po bago matapos ang June, baka makakuha tayo ng more less 10-15 million," he added.

(Just in case we can get added supplies from COVAX, we may be able to secure more or less 10-15 million vaccine doses by the end of June.)

"This coming June, medyo definitive na tayo na medyo malaki ang makukuha natin. More or less 7 to 10 million (doses) ang makukuha natin," he said, including those from AstraZeneca, Gamaleya and Sinovac.

(This coming June, it's definite that we'll get a huge supply of vaccine. We'll get more or less 7 to 10 million (doses)."

Global production of vaccines is expected to stabilize by the same month, he noted.

"Ang best case scenario by end of July and August, meron na po tayong enough production."

(The best case scenario is there will be enough production of vaccines by end of July and August.)

The Philippines is negotiating with seven vaccine suppliers, Galvez said, including for an initial 6-10 million doses from Johnson and Johnson.

Of the 170 million doses the country expects to receive in total, 18-23 million are those purchased by the private sector from AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Novavax, said Galvez. 

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So far, the country's Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authority for the vaccine candidates of the following: Pfizer, Astrazeneca, Sinovac, Gamaleya, Johnson and Johnson, and Bharat Biotech.

It will receive its first delivery of 500,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, and an additional 500,000 doses of China's Sinovac vaccine before this month ends.

The Philippines has so far received 3.5 million vaccines, of which a million were donated by China, another million was bought from Sinovac and some 525,600 AstraZeneca jabs were from global alliance COVAX Facility.

The government aims to vaccinate a third or 50 to 70 million by end of year, Galvez said, to achieve herd containment.

The so-called NRC Plus, Cebu, and other highly-urbanized cities are prioritized as these tend to have higher virus cases, he said, adding government would still follow its priority list of sectors.

The country has so far vaccinated 1,062,609 out of 1.7 million healthworkers, some 211,000 out of 9 million senior citizens, and around 228,000 out of 14 million persons with comorbidities, according to Galvez.