Metro Manila health workers first to get China-made COVID-19 vaccine

would be the first recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech, a cabinet official said on Tuesday, as the government eyes to begin its inoculation drive in the last week of February.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the first batch of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines is expected to arrive in the Philippines next month.

“We sealed the deal with Sinovac for 25 million early 50,000 doses by February, 950,000 by March, and 2 to 3 million in succeeding months ’til December with 25 million doses. This is in addition to AstraZeneca as confirmed by Sec. Galvez,” Duque said.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said, “Medical frontliners for NCR (National Capital Region),” would be the first recipients of the China-made COVID-19 vaccines.

“Iyan ang number one priority natin in terms of region, and in terms of segment of society,” he told reporters in an online briefing.

(That is our number one priority in terms of region, and in terms of segment of society.)

Last month, Malacañang said the Philippines’ top choice for a  is still ’s Sinovac despite the firm’s “bribery history.”

“Consistent po tayo na papayagan lang nating magamit ang mga bakuna na napatunayan nang ligtas at mabisa laban sa COVID-19,” Roque told reporters.

The government said the COVID-19 vaccination priority list includes:

  • 1st priority: frontline health workers
  • 2nd priority: indigent senior citizens
  • 3rd priority: remaining senior citizens
  • 4th priority: remaining indigent population
  • 5th priority: uniformed personnel (PNP, AFP, PCG, BFP, CAFGU)

Metro Manila health workers first to get China-made COVID-19 vaccine

Yesterday, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Filipinos who would avail of free COVID-19 vaccines from the government should not be “picky” when it comes to what brand they would receive.

“Totoo po, meron tayong lahat na karapatan para sa mabuting kalusugan pero hindi naman po pwede na pihikan dahil napakaraming Pilipino na dapat turukan,” Roque said in a televised Palace press briefing.

He also said those who want to get COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer have a “” would have to wait because only major cities have facilities to store the coronavirus vaccine developed by the US pharmaceutical firm.

“Sa mga mayroong colonial mentality na gustong Pfizer, puwede po kayong maghintay, pero ang ating warning po eh talaga diyan lang po iyan mabibigay dito sa Pilipinas sa mga major na siyudad dahil wala naman talaga tayong cold chain capacity outside Metro Manila,” Roque said.