The first batch of anti-COVID-19 vaccines arrived in the country today, February 28, signaling the start of the country’s national immunization program.
Officials from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of National Defense officially received the 600,000 vaccine doses donated by the People’s Republic of China to the Philippines, the National Task Force Against COVID-19 announced on its Facebook page.
The vaccine had already been issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week, which guarantees its safety and efficacy.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and other high-ranking cabinet officials were also present to witness the arrival of the vaccines and take part in their inspection before they were brought to the storage facilities.
Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr., National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar, said that the vaccine rollout has officially begun upon the receipt of the vaccines.
“The Philippines will officially begin its vaccine rollout [today]. The actual inoculation program will start on Monday at PGH, and other hospitals,” Galvez said.
The second wave of vaccinations will commence upon the delivery of vaccines coming from the COVAX facility which are expected to arrive in the second quarter of this year.
The Philippine Government continues to negotiate supply agreements with multiple manufacturers with the hope that they immediately apply for an EUA with the FDA in order to hasten deployment of the vaccines.
Meanwhile, AstraZenaca’s vaccine arrival to the Philippines will be delayed for another week amid issues of global supply, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said today.
“There is news that the expected delivery will not push through because of problems on supply according to WHO so it will be delayed,” he said,
While the WHO confirmed yesterday about its arrival, we received official communication saying it will be postponed, maybe for another week,” he added.*