Philippines receives 1.3 million more doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 16 2021 12:11 PM

MANILA— The Philippines on Tuesday received 1.3 million more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by US drug maker Moderna.

The anti-virus jabs, which were procured by the national government, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport past 9 a.m.

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the additional doses would be used for the inoculation of eligible minors and the administration of booster shots.

The latest shipment takes the total number of Moderna vaccine doses received by the Philippines to over 12.6 million. Some 9.6 million were procured by the government while 3 million were given through the COVAX vaccine-sharing scheme.

It also raises the total delivered vaccine doses to the country to 124 million, according to the National Task Force Against COVID-19. 

The Philippines has taken delivery of vaccine products also from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Sinopharm, Johnson & Johnson and Gamaleya Research Institute.

In an interview, Galvez said health workers had "leeway" to get booster shots different from the brand of their primary series, depending on available supply.

He also said the country might begin administering booster shots to senior citizens and individuals with comorbidities next week.

Since the country started its inoculation program in March, the government has administered over 70.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. More than 31.8 million individuals or 41.26 percent of the target population have so far been fully vaccinated.

The widening vaccination coverage in the country has been cited by independent research group OCTA as among the reasons for the decline in new cases the past few weeks. 

The dip has allowed the shift to looser quarantine restrictions, enabling more businesses to reopen and more people to go out. Government has also relaxed the rule on face shield use. 

Up to 77 million people are being targeted for complete vaccination for the country to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus by yearend.

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