Galvez: Pfizer, AstraZeneca vaccines under Covax may arrive in May

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THE Philippines is expecting to receive coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca from the World Health Organization-led Covax facility this May, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. announced on Wednesday.

In a televised meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, Galvez said that 1.3 million doses of Pfizer and around one or two million doses of British-Swedish vaccine AstraZeneca would be delivered.

He said the initial 193,000 Pfizer jabs have a tentative arrival date of May 11 for the brand’s pilot vaccination in the country. The date for the arrival of the AstraZeneca jabs has yet to be confirmed.

“Maganda po iyong magiging volumes po natin this coming May dahil iyong Covax baka makapag-deliver na po ng Pfizer at tsaka ng AstraZeneca (We will have better volumes this coming May because Covax might be able to deliver Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines),” Galvez said.

Galvez said Pfizer would deliver some of its vaccines directly to Visayas and Mindanao, through Cebu and Davao, so they would not need to pass through Metro Manila.

He said urban centers, such as Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao City, would be prioritized in vaccine distribution due to the prevalence of Covid-19 in these areas.

“Sabi po ng Pfizer, diretso po ang delivery doon sa Davao at Cebu dahil napakacritical po so ‘di na po dadaan ng Manila (Since it’s very critical, Pfizer said the delivery will go directly to Davao and Cebu, skipping Manila entirely),” he said.

Meanwhile, the AstraZeneca jabs will be used for the inoculation of healthcare frontliners who were given their first dose using the initial 525,600 jabs of the same brand back in March.

The second batch of AstraZeneca doses which were supposed to arrive between March 24 and 26, were delayed due to global supply shortage.

With the arrival of AstraZeneca vaccines, Galvez said those who received their first dose need not to worry about their second dose.

The interval between the administration of the first and second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine is from four to 12 weeks.

The other scheduled deliveries include two million doses of Sinovac vaccines from China, which is tentatively set on May 7; and two million doses of Sputnik V from Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute.

To date, the government has received over 4 million doses, most of which are China’s Sinovac vaccine.

Over 2 million of these were administered since the start of the rollout in March.

The government targets to immunize up to 70 million individuals by the end of the year to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19.

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