The first batch of Janssen coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine manufactured by Johnson and Johnson (J&J) has arrived in the Philippines.
More than 1.6 million doses donated by the United States landed at Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Friday afternoon.
A 1.6 million doses of donations are also scheduled to be delivered to the Philippines on Saturday.
Only a single dose is needed for J&J vaccines, which are more than 66 percent effective against moderate COVID-19 and 77 to 85 percent effective against severe or chronic COVID-19.
Janssen doses passed through the COVAX facility will be a priority for those in the country’s top three priority groups, including seniors and those with comorbidity or illness.
All regions in the country will receive 100,000 doses of Janssen each. At the same time, there will be additional allocations for Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Bicol Region, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, and the Zamboanga Peninsula.
“We will distribute them to other regions, considering that this is a very useful and very reliable and easily deployable,” said vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.
At around 10 a.m. on Friday, 1.15 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines arrived, the first delivery of vaccines purchased by the private sector from AstraZeneca.
Allocation of PH’s first batch of Janssen vaccines
Employees of 500 companies will be vaccinated, but companies can also donate to LGUs.
“All of these vaccines are paid by the private sector… We are expecting another batch come mid-August to the tune of about 1.17 [million doses],” said Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.
So far, more than 24.7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have arrived in the country, of which 43.6 percent are donated and come from COVAX.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that Filipinos should not rely on face mask-free Christmas due to the still lack of vaccines in the country.
“Mukhang made-delay ‘yon. ‘Wag muna nating asahan ‘yan kasi mapu-frustrate lang tayo na umaasa tayo. Pinaaasa natin ang taumbayan eh hindi naman natin kontrolado ang supply,” he explained.
Last month, OCTA Research Group said “no mask” Christmas and looser quarantine restrictions are possible if herd immunity is achieved.