PH to receive COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX Facility within 1st quarter of this year

Published January 21, 2021, 12:53 AM

by Analou de Vera

The country is set to receive COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility within the first quarter of this year, government officials said on Wednesday night. 

This was announced by Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. in a joint statement. 

“The Philippines today received the country’s confirmation of participation in the COVID-19 vaccine financing instrument, COVAX Facility—Advance Market Commitment (AMC),” the statement read. 

“With the country’s participation in the COVAX Facility, the country is set to receive vaccines in the first quarter of this year,” it added. 

The announcement, however, did not specify what vaccine brand and how many doses the Philippines will be receiving. 

To note, COVAX Facility is “designed to guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

As part of the preparations for the COVID-19 vaccine deployment, Duque and Galvez inspected three cold storage facilities that “can potentially be used in the first wave of COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.”

The cold chain facilities they visited were the First Pioneer Distribution Center of UNILAB located in Biñan City, Laguna; the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City; and the Zuellig Pharma Corporation in Parañaque City.

“Apart from cold chain facilities, the vaccine cluster is also in talks with third-party logistics providers to ensure efficiency of the entire supply chain management of COVID-19 vaccines, from the receipt of vaccines from the COVAX Facility to its deployment,” said Duque. 

“All of these preparations that we are undertaking are aimed at ensuring that the country is ready to receive, store, and mobilize the COVID-19 vaccines that will come from the COVAX Facility,” he added.