MANILA, Philippines — Nearly a million doses of vaccines developed by British-Swede drug firm AstraZeneca, through the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility, will arrive in the Philippines in late March or early April, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the vaccine czar, said Monday.
The 979,200 AstraZeneca shots could be expected on March 22, according to the warning order of COVAX and WHO, or until April if there will be delays in delivery, Galvez said during the pre-recorded weekly national address of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Aside from the AstraZeneca vaccines, 1.4 million doses developed by Chinese drugmaker Sinovac BioTech, 400,000 of which are donated by the Chinese government, will also arrive this month.
This brings the total number of doses expected to arrive to 2.379 million.
The government started its COVID-19 immunization program on March 1, following the arrival of 600,000 doses of CoronaVac, the China-made vaccine from Sinovac BioTech.
On March 4, 487,200 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from British-Swee firm AstraZeneca arrived in the country, followed by another set of 38,400 doses that arrived on March 7 — a total of 525,600 doses.
Galvez said WHO recommended to the Philippines that it expedite the use of the 525,600 AstraZeneca vaccines because the arrival of the second tranche could be delayed if the first batch would not be used immediately.
The Philippines has so far administered a total of 193,492 COVID-19 vaccine doses, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Monday.
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