More than 1.15 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were delivered to the country on Friday morning, July 16.
The life-saving jabs were purchased through a tripartite agreement between the local private sector led by the “Go Negosyo” Foundation, the national government, and British biopharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.
The shipment carrying 1,150,800 doses of the vaccine arrived via China Airlines flight CI701 at around 10 a.m. at Terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City.
The arrival of the vaccines was witnessed by Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19; Health Secretary Francisco Duque III; Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion; and British Embassy in Manila deputy head of mission Alastair Totty.
The vaccines were secured through the “A Dose of Hope” initiative led by Concepcion under a tripartite agreement.
“The strong ‘bayanihan’ spirit of Filipinos is not only a ‘Dose of Hope’ but a pound of inspiration that will help us realize our collective goal of inoculating millions of Filipinos this year,” said Galvez in a statement.
“The delivery will help us further expand coverage of our vaccination program, part of an agreement that is anchored on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s directive of providing effective vaccines for all Filipinos,” he added.
The latest shipment brought the country’s total vaccine supply to 22,930,710 doses. Of the number, a total of 6,858,900 doses were AstraZeneca, including the 1,124,100 doses that were donated by the Japanese government and 4,584,000 doses that came from the global vaccine initiative COVAX facility.
For his part, Concepcion said the vaccines will help the government expand its vaccine supply to inoculate majority of the population and reach herd immunity by the end of 2021.
“The product of the first-ever tripartite agreement on vaccine procurement is now in our hands. We have put this forward when everything seems unreachable and during a time when most of the countries in the world have secured a position on vaccines,” Concepcion said.
“As we gear towards population protection and herd immunity in NCR (National Capital Region)-plus, these vaccines will get us there faster which will make our economic recovery quicker — saving more lives and livelihoods in the process,” he added.
Totty noted how the AstraZeneca vaccine has demonstrated a high level of protection against the Delta and Alpha variants of COVID-19. He said the vaccine is 92 percent effective against hospitalisation due to the Delta variant.
Totty’s remark came as the Department of Health (DOH) announced that there were 16 new cases of Delta variant that were detected in the country.
In a media briefing with the DOH, Galvez said the AstraZeneca vaccines will be distributed for the second dose inoculation in the NCR, Western Visayas (Region 6), and Northern Mindanao (Region 10) among others.