Nearly 2.8 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses arrive in PH

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 08 2021 01:09 PM

The plane carrying the COVID-19 shots arrived past 9 a.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)l via China Airlines flight CI 701. Photo from NTF Against COVID-19
The plane carrying the COVID-19 shots arrived past 9 a.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)l via China Airlines flight CI 701. Photo from NTF Against COVID-19

MANILA— The Philippines on Friday received nearly 2.8 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses as the country ramped up its inoculation program to vaccinate at least half of the population by yearend.

The plane carrying the COVID-19 shots arrived past 9 a.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)l via China Airlines flight CI 701. 

The batch includes 2,132,140 Moderna vaccine shots, over 1.3 million doses of which were purchased by the government, and 477,600 ordered by the private sector.

The remaining 661,100 jabs are from AstraZeneca, procured by the private sector and local government units, authorities said. 

The latest vaccine shipment brings the total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses that have arrived in the country to 84.2 million, data collated by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group showed.

According to the health department and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF), the country does not have any issue on supplies.

“This bodes well for the country in our desire to aggressively ramp up our vaccination coverage,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

“Sa ngayon wala na tayong issue sa supply. Ngayon ang issue na natin is demand at saka ‘yung throughput,” NTF Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

(Right now we have no issue in terms of supply. The issue right now is the demand and the throughput.)

He encouraged local officials to speed up their vaccine rollout and set aside politics in implementing it, as the election season has begun. 

“Para mawalan tayo ng tinatawag na political color, equitable hanggang municipality na tayo,” he said.

(So there's no political color, these vaccines should be equitably distributed among municipalities.)

“I enjoin all the governors and mayors to unite... We encourage everybody na dapat ‘yung congressman, governor at mayor, they have to work as one, to vaccinate as one,” Galvez added.

PEDIATRIC COVID-19 VACCINATION

The government has allocated an initial 45,000 to 50,000 COVID-19 jabs for the pilot vaccination of teens aged 12 to 17 in selected hospitals in Metro Manila, according to Galvez.

Vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer are allowed for use for this age bracket, officials earlier said. 

The official pointed out that the allocation of each hospital would depend, however, on the number of their eligible patients.

“Initially, we are allocating more or less 45,000 to 50,000 muna, initially for the pilot,” he said.

Duque, meanwhile, said that he supports the administration of COVID-19 booster shots for medical frontliners. The government, however, will still have to consider it for other priority sectors considering the supply.

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“My personal view is to support the clamor of our health care workers, because they are our frontliners, they deserve to have extra protection if not a continuing protection,” he said.

“But we are also guided by science and data, especially because our coverage rate, two-jab rate is 30 percent as of now, which means we still have about 40 to 50 percent [yet] to receive first shot. We have to balance this… That is to be the number one consideration,” Duque added.

Additional Moderna and Pfizer doses are scheduled to arrive on Saturday.

Based on government data as of Thursday, authorities have so far fully vaccinated nearly 22.9 million individuals, while at least 26 million already got their first dose.