MANILA (UPDATED)- The Philippines on Thursday night accepted the delivery of 1 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses from China-based Sinovac, as the government seeks to boost its immunization efforts despite a 2-week tougher lockdown in Metro Manila.
The government-procured vaccines from Sinovac arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 around 7 p.m. via Philippine Airlines flight PR 359.
The Chinese-manufactured vaccines will be distributed to Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Rizal, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Aklan, Apayao, and some parts of Ilocos Region, according to vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr.
“Ito ay ide-deploy natin sa priority areas, lalo na ‘yung sinasabi ni Presidente na ibigay ito sa NCR at sa areas na ngayon ay mayroon nang Delta variant,” he said.
Thursday's delivery also increased the country's vaccine stockpile to over 38.27 million, data showed.
Galvez earlier said that the country is expecting at least 22.7 million vaccine jabs this August.
"These assured vaccine deliveries include doses procured by the national government from Sinovac, Pfizer, and Moderna," a statement from the National Task Force Against COVID-19 read.
The delivery also came the day before the capital region shifts to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), in a bid to halt the growth of infections likely driven by the more contagious COVID-19 Delta variant.
Galvez, meanwhile, reminded law enforcers to prevent COVID-19 vaccination sites from being "superspreaders." An inoculation center in Las Piñas City earlier stirred quite a ruckus after residents rushed to be vaccinated without observing physical distancing.
“Paalala natin sa ating LGUs, sa ating AFP at PNP, bantayan po natin ang mga vaccination site at gawin natin itong maging maayos. ‘Wag nating hayaan na ‘yung vaccination site ay maging super spreader event,” Galvez said.
He also called on the public to stay calm.
"Maghinahon po tayo. ‘Wag po tayong mag-panic … hindi kayo mauubusan ng bakuna dahil marami pang bakuna na darating pa po,” Galvez said.
As of Wednesday, the government has administered 22.48 million vaccine shots to the public, of which 12.2 million are first doses.
A total of 10.2 million Filipinos, meanwhile, are fully vaccinated from the respiratory disease.
Galvez said that vaccination of the general public, including minors, may commence next month or in October, depending on the country's vaccine supply.
- with reports from Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News