MANILA - The Philippines will receive more than 3.2 million additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines on Thursday, the head of the country's inoculation strategy said Wednesday, as the government ramps up its vaccination drive marred by shortages and delays.
One million doses from China's Sinovac Biotech and some 2.2 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab from vaccine-sharing platform COVAX Facility are scheduled to arrive, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said.
"Ako po ay humihingi ng pasensiya sa ating mga LGU dahil talagang medyo na-delay po 'yong 3 million na (I apologized to our LGUs for the delay of the 3 million) intended for the A4 for June," Galvez told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
According to the National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF COVID-19), the Sinovac vaccine will arrive in the morning, while the 2,279,160 doses of Pfizer will arrive in the evening.
Galvez said the vaccines would be distributed to other provinces outside the capital region where many of their elderly residents and those with comorbidities were not yet vaccinated.
In particular, Cebu and Davao will each get 210,600 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, while the rest will be alloted for Metro Manila, the NTF COVID-19 said.
Former Antipolo City Mayor Jun Ynares criticized the national government over alleged disparity in vaccine distribution.
The country on Monday began administering COVID-19 shots to workers in essential industries in Metro Manila and 8 other areas with high coronavirus infections, more than 3 months since catering only to health workers, senior citizens and people with comorbidities.
In the interview, Galvez bared that 250,000 doses of Moderna vaccine would also arrive on June 21, of which 195,000 would go to the government while 55,000 others would go to the private sector.
He said this is part of the country's negotiation with the American pharmaceutical company last December where the government procured 13 million doses while the private sector purchased 7 million.
This is also aside from the large vaccine surplus that the US has decided to share to priority nations, he added. Seven million of those will be set aside for Asia, including the Philippines.
From June to August, Galvez said he expects the Philippines to receive more than 35 million doses. The country may get 11 million in June, 11.6 million in Jul, and 17 million in August.
The country has so far received more than 9.3 million doses of different COVID-19 vaccine brands.
Since it started its inoculation program in March, the Philippines has so far administered over 6 million doses. More than 1.6 million individuals have so far been fully vaccinated.
At least 58 million individuals are being targeted for vaccination this year to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus.