First batch of AstraZeneca shots procured by private sector due in PH mid-June


Posted at May 19 2021 12:20 PM | Updated as of May 19 2021 03:49 PM

First batch of AstraZeneca shots procured by private sector due in PH mid-June 1
A health worker shows a vial of Covishield, AstraZeneca-Oxford's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine, at Patan Hospital near Kathmandu on January 27, 2021. Prakash Mathema, AFP/File

MANILA - The first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines procured by the private sector is expected to arrive around mid-June, Presidential Adviser Joey Concepcion said. 

In a radio interview, Concepcion said the first batch is expected to arrive from Thailand next month, while the rest of the AstraZeneca vaccines are slated to arrive in tranches “all the way to December."

Concepcion did not mention how many vaccines will be arriving for mid-June. The vaccines are expected to be allocated to economic frontliners who fall into the A4 category of vaccinations set by the national government.

"'Yung AstraZeneca, total niyan is about 17 million. 11 million is for the LGUs and 6 million is for the private sector. Ang unang dating no'n is sometime mid-June mula sa Thailand and July all the way until December ang buong 17 million,” Concepcion said. 

(The total for AstraZeneca vaccines is about 17 million. 11 million is for the LGUs and 6 million is for the private sector. The first batch will come sometime mid-June from Thailand and the rest of the 17 million will arrive from July all the way to December.) 

Aside from AstraZeneca jabs, the private sector has secured Covaxin, Novavax, and Moderna vaccines to be allocated for economic frontliners, with some to be donated to local government units and the rest to be allocated for private companies’ consumption. 

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The national government currently has AstraZeneca and Pfizer jabs donated by the vaccine-sharing COVAX facility of the World Health Organization. Majority of the vaccine doses available are Sinovac vaccines procured through donations or through government purchases. 

Concepcion said the private sector is already setting vaccine sites. They have also collaborated with pharmaceutical company Zuellig for the distribution and storage of AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines. It will also be coordinating with local government units in terms of scheduling and distribution. 

The private sector is providing vaccines to employees and the government for free.

But vaccine jabs ordered by participating companies in the private sector should be given "at cost" to relatives of employees. Concepcion pegged the number of participating companies at around 200. 

"Nobody is allowed to make a margin. At cost [dapat] sa mga pamilya nila (for their families)," Concepcion said. 

With some economic frontliners already inoculated under higher priority sectors, Concepcion does not expect a surplus in vaccine stocks among partners in the private sector, adding that firms would give their remaining vaccine jabs to contractual workers or employees' relatives in case they have excess vaccines available.

“Wala kaming excess sigurado niyan kasi 'yung mga pamilya nila counted 'yan at nakita namin 'yung LGU natin ngayon siyempre pumapasok dito ang COVAX facility marami diyan galing AstraZeneca… Ang tingin namin sa mga ibang empleyado, kunin na sa LGU kung kailangan. Kung excess, ide-deploy namin sa contractual workers. So madali 'yan, palagay ko ang vaccine walang excess, [baka nga] kulang pa,” Concepcion said. 

(I’m sure we won’t have an excess in vaccines because we have factored in the family members of employees. We also acknowledge that the vaccines from the COVAX facility have arrived. We also ecourage our employees to secure jabs for LGUs. If there's any excess, we will deploy that to our contractual workers. It will be easy to distribute our vaccines, we might even have a shortage.) 

As of May 16, over 3 million vaccine jabs have been administered in the country, according to government data. The number includes 719,602 fully vaccinated people. 

This constitutes 1.24 percent of the target 70 million Filipinos to achieve herd immunity. 

There has also been clamor to start inoculating people in the A4 category, as vaccine turnout remains low among priority sectors such as senior citizens and people with comorbidities a month after the vaccination program started.