‘Soon’: WHO official assures PH will receive Pfizer, AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines

Published March 2, 2021, 11:45 AM

by Analou de Vera

An official of the World Health Organization (WHO) assured that the country is to receive doses of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines developed by pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and AstraZeneca.


“The Philippines is going to receive both AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines through the COVAX facility,” said WHO Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe in an interview on CNN Philippines on Tuesday, March 2.

The Philippine government has already complied with all the necessary requirements to have access on these vaccines, said Abeyasinghe. 

“The requirements relating to AstraZeneca have been completed…Having said that, we are also informed that all requirements that the Philippines was required to meet with regards to Pfizer vaccines have been completed, but access to Pfizer vaccines may be delayed,” he said. 

Abeyasinghe said that they are looking at how they can accelerate the delivery  of the 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines. These vaccines were supposed to arrive in the Philippines on Monday, March 1. 

“Although AstraZeneca was tentatively scheduled on Monday, this was not possible and we now believe that we will hear of a possible date…I don’t want to create any expectations until we have a firm date. So when we know of a firm date and which we believe will be very soon, we will announce that,” said Abeyasinghe.

“The consignments are ready and just logistics arrangements are being made. So once we have a finalization and a confirmed itinerary of the delivery, we will share that information,” he added. 

At the global level, Abeyasinghe said that they are facing two bottlenecks in the delivery of the essential vaccines around the globe. 

“The (first) bottleneck that we are talking of was the manufacturers unable to meet the manufacturing targets because these are biological processes and they could not produce the quantities that they anticipated that they could early on,” said the WHO official. 

“We are now seeing a second bottleneck  that is the delivery processes because these vaccines need to be transported: maintaining cold chain requirements and logistic handlers are having challenges in ensuring large shipments of vaccines across the world,” he said. 

“There are 190 countries who have signed on to the COVAX and who are anticipating vaccines, and now this is posing a challenge,” he added.