MANILA – The Philippines’ first batch of 193,050 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine donated through the World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVAX Facility arrived Monday night.
The government’s vaccine cluster along with representatives from the United Nations, World Health Organization (WHO), the UNICEF, US Embassy, and Pfizer-Philippines welcomed the arrival of the initial shipment of Pfizer vaccines in the country via a DHL plane with flight number LD457 around 9 p.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the newly arrived Pfizer vaccines will be used for the inoculation of the priority sector under A1 (healthcare workers), A2 (elderly), and A3 (persons with comorbidities).
Duque said the government has been diligently working on the arrival of the highly-sensitive Pfizer vaccines in the country amid the limited global supply of the jabs.
“We thank the COVAX Facility and all of our partners for making this possible. We will continue to boost public confidence in our national vaccination program,” he said.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), the first batch of Pfizer vaccines will be distributed in Covid-19 high-risk areas within Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao.
To date, the COVAX facility has already delivered four shipments of vaccines to the Philippines as part of a global initiative to ensure equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines to low and middle-income countries.
The COVAX has already sent 487,200 doses on March 4, followed by 38,400 doses delivered on March 7, and the third delivery consisting of 2,030,400 doses arrived on May 8—all of which are of the brand AstraZeneca.
The newly arrived vaccines were immediately transported to the PharmaServ Express cold-chain storage facility in Marikina City.
The Pfizer vaccine requires a temperature at -80°C to -60°C, prior to dilution.
National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said the Philippines is slated to receive at least 1.1 million more doses of Pfizer jabs through the COVAX Facility within this month.
The government will conduct a simulation rollout on handling, logistics, and transportation for the newly arrived 193,050 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
With the arrival of additional Pfizer vaccines, the Philippines’ vaccine stockpile increased to 7,764,000 doses, of which are 2.5 million AstraZeneca vaccines, 5 million Sinovac shots, and 15,000 Sputnik V doses, and now 193,050 Pfizer jabs.
The government targets to vaccinate up to 70 percent of the country’s population to achieve herd immunity. Lade Jean Kabagani / PNA – northboundasia.com