Philippines adds 1.2 million more Moderna doses to its vaccine stock

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 30 2021 10:43 AM | Updated as of Sep 30 2021 03:28 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) — The Philippines on Thursday received over 1.2 million more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by US drugmaker Moderna.

The China Airlines flight carrying the jabs arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 9:30 a.m.

Of the 1.2 million Moderna doses, some 863,800 were procured by the government while the remaining 369,500 were bought by the private sector, according to the National Task Force Against COVID-19.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said the vaccines would be distributed to "priority regions" such as Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Central Visayas, Davao Region and Soccsksargen.

The jabs will also be given to cities that are vulnerable and experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases, Galvez added.

The latest shipment takes the total number of Moderna vaccine doses delivered to the Philippines to nearly 6.5 million. 

Of the total, some 3 million were given through vaccine sharing scheme COVAX Facility while 3,490,300 were purchased by the government and the private sector.

As of Sept. 30, the Philippines has so far received more than 71 million doses of various COVID-19 vaccine brands.

Since the country began its immunization program in March, the government has administered over 44 million doses. More than 20.8 million individuals have so far been fully vaccinated.

The government earlier eyed to have 77 million Filipinos vaccinated this year, but Galvez said government lowered its targets to 50 to 70 million, citing challenges in logistics and vaccine supply.

VACCINATION OF MINORS

The Philippines will also start vaccinating children aged 5 to 6 years old in select Metro Manila hospitals in October, Galvez said.

The hospitals include the Philippine Heart Center, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute and Philippine General Hospital.

Galvez added that the government may also prioritize vaccinating minors aged 15 to 17 with comorbidites as well as children of health care workers.

"Then we will observe. Pagka naging maganda ang flow (if the flow is good), we will expand [vaccination of minors] to different cities ng Metro Manila," he said.

Seeking to ease parents' fears, Galvez noted how the COVID-19 vaccines have been used on millions of children in other countries.

"I know maraming nag-aalala, 'yong sa Dengvaxia. But this is very different. Ito nakita natin, nagamit muna ang mga vaccine na ito sa milyong-milyong bata globally," he said, referring to the controversy that raised questions on the safety of Sanofi Pasteur's dengue vaccine.

(I know many are worried, like with what happened with Dengvaxia. But this is very different. We've seen these vaccines used on millions of children globally.)

Galvez said there is sufficient supply of COVID-19 jabs for minors, who as of now can only receive vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna.

—With a report from Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

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—With a report from Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News