At least 5.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines are expected to arrive in the Philippines within the first 3 months of the year, according to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.
Such vaccines are made by Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca, the secretary said.
This is through the COVAX Initiative led by the World Health Organization so that even poor countries can have the opportunity to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to Galvez, by mid-February, the Philippines is expected to receive 117,000 doses of vaccine from Pfizer.
The first batch of vaccines from AstraZeneca is also expected to arrive in February.
Based on the letter received by the Philippines from the COVAX Facility, up to 9.4 million vaccine doses from 2 manufacturers will be received by the Philippines, possibly in the first half of the year.
But Galvez clarified that the arrival of vaccines still depends on the global supply.
“For health care workers and frontliners, highly urbanized cities, at high prevalence areas, ang target natin February, March maayos na natin ang ating healthcare workers,” Galvez said in an interview on January 27.
He said the facility of the local government unit (LGU) will also be considered in storing the vaccine. There are vaccines that require cooler storage.
Over 5.6 million COVID-19 vaccines expected to arrive in first 3 months of 2021
To guide LGUs in the preparation and implementation of COVID-19 vaccination, the government has approved and ratified the Philippine National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines.
The plan has 7 phases: selection, access, funding, storage, and distribution of vaccines as well as actual vaccination, assessment, and monitoring.
The immediate construction of the vaccination operation center of the LGUs is being mandated.
While waiting for the vaccine to arrive, it is also important to spread the word about it to strengthen public confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines.
It is also important to complete a master list of vaccine populations, vaccines, and vaccination sites.
The priority group includes frontline health workers, senior citizens, poor population members, and uniformed personnel.
Other frontline workers and special populations are in Group B while other members of the population are in Group C.
The government aims to vaccinate about 70 million Filipinos by 2021.