500K Sinovac shots arriving in PH on Thursday

Published May 19, 2021, 12:31 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

As the government plans to speed its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) inoculation program, the eighth shipment of Chinese manufacturer Sinovac Biotech in the country will arrive on Thursday morning, May 20, carrying 500,000 doses of procured CoronaVac vaccines.

In an advisory Wednesday, May 19, the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 said that the vaccines will be fetched via Cebu Pacific commercial flight 5J671 from China.

The plane is estimated to land at Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City at 7 a.m.

Upon arrival, the vaccines are expected to be brought to the cold chain facility of Pharmaserv Express, Inc. in Marikina City where it will be stored prior to distribution to the intended recipients — particularly the “focus areas” of the inoculation program.

These are the National Capital Region (NCR), Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Rizal, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao (NCR Plus 8).

Once received, the total vaccine supply will reach more than eight million doses, said NTF Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr.

“Sa kabuuan po, tayo po ay makakatanggap ng 8,279,050 na bakuna mula noong Pebrero (In total, we will receive 8,279,050 vaccines since February),” he said.

Aside from Sinovac, the country is expected to receive within this month 2.2 million doses of donated Pfizer vaccines through the global initiative COVAX facility and 1.3 million doses of Sputnik V vaccines from Gamaleya Research Institute of Russia.

In June, a total of 10.05 million doses will be delivered by pharmaceutical firms Oxford-AstraZeneca, Sinovac Biotech, Moderna, and Gamaleya Research Institute.

Oxford-AstraZeneca will bring in two million doses and another 1.3 million doses from the procurement of the private sector; Sinovac will deliver 4.5 million doses of CoronaVac; Moderna will turnover 250,000 doses; and Gamaleya will ship in two million doses of Sputnik V.

“Sa kasalukuyan, tayo po ay nasa ating malawakang preparasyon upang palakasin ang implementasyon ng ating programa sa pagbabakuna upang makamit natin ang herd immunity sa mga critical na lugar or center of gravity (At present, we are preparing to strengthen the implementation of our inoculation prpgram to reach herd immunity in critical areas or center of gravity),” Galvez said.

The government is eyeing to vaccinate 58 million to 70 million people in focus areas to achieve herd immunity by the end of the year.

To do this, Galvez had said that the country needs to inoculate 500,000 people daily or around three million per week this May and possibly more in June.

In NCR, its current daily vaccination average of 60,000 to 70,000 must be increased to 120,000 to achieve herd immunity by November 27, Galvez had said.

As of May 18, the Department of Health said a total of 3,299,470 doses were already administered by the government.

Around 2.5 million Filipinos (4.33 percent of 58 million) have received their first dose while more than 780,000 (1.36 percent of 58 million) have been fully vaccinated.