The first wave of Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility are expected to start arriving in two weeks or middle of this month.
“This positive news is a testament that under the COVAX facility, it ensures equitable distributions of vaccines throughout the globe,” National Policy Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said un a statement.
Galvez said at least 5.6 million vaccine doses produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca are expected to arrive in the country within the first quarter this year to jumpstart the country’s national vaccination program as part of the global efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
He said they have received a letter from Aurélia Nguyen, managing director of the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility, officially informing the Philippine government that the country stands to receive a total of 9,407,400 doses from the two pharmaceutical makers within the first and second quarters of this year.
The regional review committees from the WHO, UNICEF and Gavi granted the Philippines two vaccine brands that have been “authorized or very close to being authorized by WHO through an Emergency Use Listing (EUL), according to the letter.
He said according to COVAX, the number of doses and the projected arrival of the vaccines are all indicative since it all depends on the global supply.
The Philippines, through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), earlier granted both Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA), which indicates that the vaccines can be safely administered once they become available.
Galvez said over the past week, the Covid-19 Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) team has been visiting cities in Metro Manila to monitor the ongoing preparations being carried out by local government units and the private sector for the arrival of the vaccines, specifically the crafting of their respective local vaccine implementation plans.
He urged Filipinos to set their fears aside and have themselves inoculated once the vaccines are available. He also assured that all the vaccines the government will administer must pass stringent selection and evaluation processes of the Vaccine Expert Panel, FDA, and the Department of Health.