MANILA – World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe expressed optimism that the country will receive the 44 million doses allocated by the COVAX Facility within the year with up to 9.2 million doses arriving within the first and second quarter.
The delivery date will start once the Philippine government fulfills the necessary arrangements needed by the COVAX facilities to ensure smooth vaccine rollout and other requirements of the vaccine manufacturers Pfizer BioNTech and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.
“When all of those requirements are met and we believe that the Philippines is on track to do that, we are looking potentially at a maximum of 9.2 million doses coming through the COVAX facility by March or April of this year. We are optimistic that the remainder of the 44 million doses will come later on in the year,” Abeyasinghe said, adding that the country will have access to up to 9.2 million AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in South Korea if it can maintain targeted manufacturing capacity.
This comes on the heels of the announcement that the COVAX Facility will be able to deliver approximately 117,000 doses of Pfizer BioNTech within the second or third week of February.
“The goal of COVAX is to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world to minimize the impact of the pandemic, to save lives, and to facilitate quick economic recovery,” Abeyasinghe remarked.
The Philippines has been meeting its timetable in making ready the cold-chain facilities and its manpower. According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the Philippines has been implementing immunization for decades already.
“Most of these vaccines that are forthcoming would be currently for logistical side 2 to 8 degrees. We already have these kinds of facilities and equipment. With these ultra-low freezers, we have end-to-end agreements with manufacturers where they will assist us from the time that the vaccines arrive here to the storage and the distribution,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Philippines has already adopted the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan.
“Now that we have successfully secured safe and effective vaccines for our people, we are now working to align the deployment and vaccination plan up to the local government units. The current global supply of COVID-19 vaccines is scarce, hence we are ensuring that there will be no wastage in our COVID-19 immunization program,” Duque said in a separate statement. - PR
(Photo courtesy of AstraZeneca, University of Oxford)