MANILA (UPDATE) —The Philippines on Saturday afternoon welcomed more than 1.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from health care giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) donated by the US government through the COVAX Facility.
The second batch of 1,606,600 J&J/Janssen doses arrived in the country past 4 p.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 via Emirates flight EK 0332.
This delivery completes some 3.2 million jabs that Washington donated to the country through the UN-led vaccine sharing platform. The country accepted the initial batch on Friday.
In a tweet, United States' Embassy in Manila Chargé d’Affaires John Law said it would boost the country's COVID-19 response.
"Together with yesterday’s delivery, these more than 3.2 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines will help protect millions of Filipinos," Law said.
In an interview with reporters, the American official said a huge number of vaccines would be given to the Philippines, their long-time ally.
"The goal is to get as many vaccines to as many people as quickly as possible so we can all protect our health... In the very very near future, you are going to see another very large donation to the Philippines from US," he said.
National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Karl Chua said high-risk areas would be prioritized for vaccination with the single-shot jabs, to help reopen the economy.
Authorities also assured the public that the freshly-delivered shots would be distributed equally.
The vaccines will be brought to Pharmaserv storage facility in Marikina City before distribution. J&J/Janssen jabs have storage requirements of at least 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr, Chua, and National Task Force Against COVID-19 adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa, were among those who accepted the delivery.
The single-shot vaccine can be administered to people ages 18 and older in the country.
Earlier in the day, more than 1.5 million government-procured jabs from China-based Sinovac arrived in Manila.
The latest deliveries pushed the country's vaccine stockpile to nearly 27.9 million.
As of July 14, the government had fully inoculated at least 4 million Filipinos, while more than 10 million already received their first shot against the respiratory disease, data collated by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group showed.