The country will finally get hold of its first batch of the United States (US)-manufactured Pfizer vaccines this month, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said late Wednesday night, May 5.
During President Duterte’s “Talk to the Nation” public address, Galvez, who acts as vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, bared that 1.3 million doses of Pfizer and around one or two million doses of British-Swedish vaccine AstraZeneca will be delivered through the Covax facility.
He said the initial 193,000 Pfizer jabs have a tentative arrival date of May 11 for the brand’s pilot vaccination in the country. The date for the arrival of the AstraZeneca jabs is yet to be confirmed.
The first batch of Pfizer jabs will be distributed in select areas in the National Capital Region (NCR), Cebu, and Davao.
Since Pfizer is a sensitive vaccine that requires to be stored at negative 70 degrees Celsius, Galvez said it will be directly flown to Cebu and Davao to avoid possible mishandling.
“Sabi po ng Pfizer, diretso po ang delivery doon sa Davao at Cebu dahil napakacritical po so ‘di na po dadaan ng Manila (Since it’s very critical, Pfizer said the delivery will go directly to Davao and Cebu, skipping Manila entirely),” he said.
Meanwhile, the AstraZeneca jabs will be used for the inoculation of healthcare frontliners who were given their first dose using the initial 525,600 jabs of the same brand back in March.
With the expected arrival of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, Galvez said the total deliveries for the month of May could increase to seven million from four million.
The other scheduled deliveries include two million doses of Sinovac vaccines from China, which is tentatively set on May 7; and two million doses of Sputnik V from Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute.