Amid mounting pressure on the availability of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines, the country will finally get the first batch of its procured jabs with the arrival of one million doses of CoronaVac shots from Chinese vaccine manufacturer Sinovac Biotech on Monday, March 29.
President Duterte is expected to grace the welcoming ceremony for the arrival of the Chinese vaccines at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.
Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, said that the CoronaVac vaccines are the first brand of COVID-19 vaccines that will be delivered out of the procurements made by the government.
Galvez said the government paid 15 percent of the P700 million total procurement price for the CoronaVac vaccines. The remaining 85 percent will be paid once the delivery is completed, he noted.
In April, Galvez said two million more vaccines will be bought by the government from Sinovac. These procurements are part of the 25 million vaccine doses secured by the government from Sinovac, with the deliveries set in tranches per month.
Once the procured one million Corovac shots are delivered, the country’s total vaccine supply will reach 2,525,600 — more than half of which came from donations of Sinovac and the Covax facility led by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The current supply stands at 1,525,600 doses. Of these, one million doses were donated by Sinovac on February 28 and March 24 while 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca jabs were delivered by the Covax facility on March 4 and March 7.
Galvez had said that about 98 percent of the total vaccine supply were already distributed in various hospitals nationwide.
As of March 25, a total of 608,962 individuals have already been inoculated against COVID-19, said Food and Drug Administrator Eric Domingo.
The arrival of the procured vaccines may come as a relief for Galvez who directly takes the heat from public scrutiny after Duterte, during a Cabinet meeting last March 22, asked when the vaccines procured by the government will arrive.
Prior to this, Senator Panfilo Lacson had criticized the government for the slow arrival of vaccines even if the government borrowed P127 billion in loans for its acquisition.
It is also not clear where the vaccines will be allocated although Galvez had said that the distribution of arriving supply of vaccines may be concentrated in areas experiencing a surge including Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao.
Aside from Sinovac and Covax facility, the government has ongoing negotiations with several vaccine manufacturers to achieve its target of securing 140 million doses for the inoculation of 70 million Filipinos by year-end.
For the month of April, the country is expecting the delivery of six million vaccines including those procured from Sinovac (two million); Russia’s Gamaleya Institute (three million); and the second tranche from Covax facility (one million).
In May, there are 8,794,000 vaccines expected from Sinovac (two million); Gamaleya (three million); AstraZeneva (2.6 million); Covax facility (one million); and Moderna (194,000).
The bulk of supplies bought by the government will start arriving in June with the expected delivery of 11.5 million doses from Sinovac (4.5 million); Gamaleya (four million); Novavax (one million); AstraZeneca (two million).
In July, a total of 13.5 million doses are expected from the deliveries of Sinovac (three million); Gamaleya (four million); Moderna (one million); Novavax (two million); J&J’s Jannsen (1.5 million); and AstraZeneca (two million).
From August to December, the government is expecting the delivery of 100 million vaccine doses, with 20 million shots being delivered each month.