The Philippines will send a letter to the management of the COVAX facility to request additional doses of Pfizer coronavirus disease 2019 vaccines, National Policy Against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said yesterday.
Galvez, also the vaccine czar, said the country will request more than 900,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine apart from the 117,000 doses set to arrive this month.
He noted that out of the 72 countries that applied for the acquisition of vaccines under the COVAX facility, the Philippines is among 18 countries that have been given approval.
Through this facility, Galvez said the Philippines stands to receive fully subsidized doses for 20 percent of the country’s population.
“This is a global initiative aimed at working with vaccine manufacturers to provide countries worldwide with equitable access to safe and effective vaccines,” Galvez said.
However, Galvez emphasized that the volume and arrival of the vaccines from the COVAX facility “are all indicative” as these will depend on the global supplies.
Some 117,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 5.5 million to 9.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be delivered to the country in the first and second quarters of this year, he said.
Galvez said the first batch of the vaccines to be deployed will come from Pfizer pharmaceutical firm that will require ultra-low temperature cold storage.
It will be dedicated to the Philippine General Hospital in Manila City, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital, formerly known as Tala Leprosarium in Caloocan City, and the Lung Center of the Philippines and East Avenue Medical Center, both located in Quezon City.
Galvez said it will be given next to all available Covid-19 referral facilities and hospitals located in Metro Manila, and in the cities of Cebu and Davao.
Filipinos under the government’s priority list will be inoculated two to three days after the first batch of the vaccines arrives in the country on Feb. 20, Galvez also said.
“We will not take any longer, for an instance, we will wait two to three days only and we will immediately inject the vaccines and we will prioritize the four referral hospitals in Metro Manila,” he added. The government’s Covid-19 Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic team has been visiting local government units to discuss the vaccine deployment and the nationwide immunization program.*PNA