MANILA - Nearly 2.28 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the Philippines on Thursday night, as parts of the country continue to record a spike in virus infections.
The second shipment from the American pharmaceutical giant, courtesy of the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility, amounted to 2,279,160 doses. It arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 around 8:30 p.m.
The Philippines received the first batch of the Pfizer vaccine last month, made up of 193,050 doses.
According to the National Task Force Against COVID-19, Cebu and Davao are set to receive 210,600 doses each, while the remaining doses were allotted for the capital region.
Earlier in the day, 111,150 doses of the vaccine brand were delivered to the Davao region in Mindanao. Nearly 30,000 doses of the same product were also flown there last month.
Malacañang had denied accusations that government could be favoring some areas in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, after reports that several vaccination sites in Davao City, President Rodrigo Duterte's hometown, would get the Pfizer vaccines, which is favored by many Filipinos.
Pfizer shots go to Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao because they have ultra-cold storage facilities the vaccine brand requires, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque had said.
"Wala pong preferential treatment ‘yan. Realidad lang po na talagang Pfizer was made for first world conditions," he said last May 28.
Vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr. said the Pfizer vaccine is currently intended for those in the A1, A2, at A3 categories.
Galvez said this week said the government is set to sign a deal to secure 40 million more COVID-19 doses from Pfizer, which uses the mRNA technology and has to be administered in two doses, 21 days apart.
Aside from Pfizer's, the Philippines is currently using COVID-19 jabs developed by AstraZeneca, Sinovac, and Gamaleya Institute.
The National Task Force Against COVID-19 announced that 100,000 additional doses of Gamaleya's Sputnik V Component I are also set to be delivered in the country on Friday night.
Pfizer's vaccine candidate was the first to be granted emergency use authorization (EUA) in the Philippines, getting the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval on Jan. 14.
This week, the FDA amended the EUA, approving the use of Pfizer's vaccine for minors as young as 12 years old, although the inoculation drive is currently prioritizing adults.
The government so far was able to administer 6,314,548 doses of the vaccines, of which 4,632,826 are first shots.
A total of 1,681,722 Filipinos, meanwhile, are fully vaccinated.
The number of those who received their 2 doses comprise 2.90 percent of the minimum 58 million government target by yearend, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.
The Philippines, which is battling one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Asia, has so far reported 1.293 million infections and 22,312 deaths.
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