MANILA (UPDATE) —A total of 1,078,740 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses bought by the government arrived in Manila on Wednesday night.
The shipment landed at Ninoy Aquino International Airpot (NAIA) Terminal 3 past 8 p.m. via Air Hong Kong flight LD456.
This was the first of 3 deliveries for the 2,394,990 government-bought Pfizer vaccines through the Asian Development Bank, the National Task Force Against COVID-19 said.
Philippine authorities are expecting the succeeding shipments on Thursday and Saturday, according to the task force.
Earlier in the day, the country also welcomed more than 1.6 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots donated by the French government.
The Pfizer shots raised the country's total received COVID-19 doses to more than 145.4 million, data collated by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group showed.
DISTRIBUTION BEING MAPPED
Meanwhile, an adviser of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 said government was focusing on which LGUs would be prioritized.
NTF special adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa said an estimated 200 million vaccines of various brands were set to be delivered to the country in the coming months.
These were “more than enough” to vaccinate Filipinos once they eventually arrive, Herbosa said.
“We need to map very well the distribution of the vaccines because some areas need more some areas need less,” he told state-run PTV at the arrival of more than 1 million government-bought Pfizer vaccines at NAIA Terminal 3.
The country has been receiving vaccines at a rate of 2 million to 3 million nearly every day, Herbosa added, saying local governments who ordered their own jabs should expect to get them in December.
“Our problem now is making sure they get out of storage. We need to inject them, otherwise the storage will be full,” he said.
Herbosa said Pfizer jabs, primary vaccines for 12- to 17-year-olds and booster shots, were being considered for highly populated areas with low freezer storage.
He added the distribution of the Pfizer vaccines will be hastened with the arrival of 4 million syringes on Thursday.
It was this lack of supply that caused the Philippines to reduce its target during the 3-day National Vaccination Days.
He said vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. was inclined to recommend the approval of the extension of the Bayanihan Bakunahan drive particularly in the local level.
“He kind of agrees that if the LGUs want to extend it, they’re welcome to actually extend this volunteerism and vaccination program,” Herbosa said.
“We will weigh that and balance that and make sure everyone who wants to get vaccinated will get vaccinated.”
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) said Wednesday it is eyeing another 3-day vaccination drive in the middle of December.
The Philippines has so far fully vaccinated 36.3 million people against COVID-19, while 49.7 million have received an initial dose.
The aim is to fully immunize at least 54 million individuals by the end of the year.