More Filipinos will now be inoculated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
This in view of the arrival in the country on Monday, May 10, of the first 193,050 doses of donated Pfizer vaccines from the World Health Organization-led Covax facility.
The national government led by the vaccine cluster with representatives from the United Nations, World Health Organization (WHO), the UNICEF, US Embassy, and Pfizer Philippines received the vaccine doses at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City.
In a statement, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said the additional Pfizer vaccines will be used on priority groups A1 to A3, who will be receiving the first dose of the said vaccines.
“We have been working hard to bring these vaccines to the country especially with the scarce global supply of COVID-19 vaccines. We thank the COVAX facility and all of our partners for making this possible. We will continue to boost public confidence in our national vaccination program,” he said.
The government is currently administering the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to health care workers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities. A ceremony was conducted on May 1, in which 5,000 economic frontliners who belong to the A4 priority group were vaccinated.
“In February, the U.S Government announced a $4 billion contribution to support the purchase and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines through the Covax Facility. This includes an initial contribution of $2 billion to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), which enables donor-funded access to safe and effective vaccines for 92 low- and middle-income countries, said
Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO Representative to the Philippines, also welcomed the arrival of the vaccines from the Covax facility.
“Many of the people who will receive the COVID-19 vaccines arriving today are Filipino healthcare workers – whose dedication and hard work continues to save lives and keep us safe. Healthcare workers are at the front of the line for vaccination because they are risking their health at the frontlines for the rest of us,” he said.
“Thanks to the outstanding work of our partners in the COVAX Facility, successful multi-stakeholder collaboration led by the Philippine Government, and technical support for ultra-cold chain vaccine delivery, today’s arrival of vaccines is one more step in the fight against COVID-19. UNICEF is bringing the full weight of our experience – as the world’s largest single procurer of vaccines for children — to help procure and deliver COVID-19 vaccines and specialized syringes, and to help countries in their roll-out plans. This is a unique opportunity to build the systems needed to prevent future pandemics, accelerate action to ensure every child has access to essential healthcare, and save lives,” said UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov.
The government is eyeing a total of 1.3 million doses of Pfizer vaccines through the Covax facility.
The initial doses of 193,050 would be used to test the logistics needed to store and transport the vaccines.