UN, US welcome COVAX delivery of 2 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses to PH

Published May 9, 2021, 9:42 AM

by Roy Mabasa

The United Nations (UN) in the Philippines and the United States Embassy in Manila welcomed the delivery of more than two million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to the Philippines under the COVAX facility, the international partnership established to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) jabs worldwide.

Representatives from the United States and other stakeholders joined Philippine officials in welcoming the delivery of two million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to the Philippines under the COVAX facility arrangement. (US Embassy)

In separate statements, the UN and the US said the latest vaccine shipment that arrived in Manila on Saturday, May 8, 2021, is in addition to the 525,600 doses delivered in March. COVAX has committed a total of 4.5 million doses of vaccines to the Philippines.

UN Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez said COVAX is a demonstration of multilateralism in action and its success depends on global collaboration – from the scientists and manufacturers over public health officials, and policy and decision-makers, to the medical practitioners and the communities who will eventually benefit from the vaccines.

“It is the result of this global collaboration we see here today,” Gonzales said during the welcome ceremony at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), working in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as well as the World Bank, civil society organizations, manufacturers, and others.

This file photo taken on November 23, 2020 shows an illustration picture of a syringe and a bottle reading “Covid-19 Vaccine” next to AstraZeneca company and University of Oxford logos. (AFP/ MANILA BULLETIN)

As of May 2, 2021, 525,337 out of the 525,600 doses have been administered to health workers, the elderly, and persons with underlying health conditions distributed through the various local government units.

The UN said this new vaccine shipment will provide second doses to those who have already been administered the first dose of the AstraZeneca jabs, as well as other target populations.

COVAX will also provide over 2.3 million doses of the American-made Pfizer vaccine, with the first delivery imminent, according to a US Embassy statement.

The U.S. is by far the largest contributor to the COVAX effort, funding one in five vaccinations in the Philippines provided by the facility. In February, the U.S. government announced a total planned contribution of Php194.4 billion ($4 billion) to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment. So far, it has already provided an initial Php97.2 billion ($2 billion), and the Philippines is among the first countries in the region to have received COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility. 

In regard to its partnership with the Philippines to strengthen local response to the pandemic, the United States has already provided nearly P1.3 billion ($27 million) in various assistance.