More than 1.6 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine arrived in the Philippines on Friday afternoon, July 16.
The National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 said the shipment carrying 1,606,000 doses of the J&J vaccine were delivered via Emirates Airlines flight EK 0332.
The plane landed on Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City at 4:15 p.m.
The newly-delivered vaccines comprise the first batch of the total 3.2 million J&J vaccines that were donated by the United States (US) government to the Philippines through the global vaccine initiative, Covax facility.
On Saturday, another 1.606 million doses of J&J vaccines will be flown into the country to complete the donation pledge.
The J&J is a single-dose vaccine manufactured by pharmaceutical company Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and NTF chief implementer, had said that majority of the vaccines will be deployed to geographically-isolated areas in Visayas and Mindanao.
However, during Friday’s arrival ceremony, Galvez announced that each of the 17 regions will get an equal allocation of 100,000 doses of the J&J vaccine once the deliveries of the US donations are completed.
Additional supplies will also be allotted in areas where cases are surging including Central Luzon (Region 3), Calabarzon (Region 4A), Bicol (Region 5), Central Visayas (Region 7), Eastern Visayas (Region 8), and Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9), he noted.
He said the single-dose vaccine will help facilitate an easier rollout in these areas since the recipients only have to avail of just one jab, compared to two doses from other brands.
Galvez stressed that since the J&J jabs came from the Covax facility, a global initiative that seeks to provide countries with an equal access to the vaccines, the priority recipients will be individuals belonging to the A2, A3, and A5 categories. These include senior citizens, persons with co-morbidities, and indigent population.
With the delivery, the country’s total vaccine supply further increased to 24,787,510 doses.
Earlier in the day, a total of 1,150,800 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine were also delivered to the country. The vaccines were procured through a tripartite agreement involving the national government, private sector, and the manufaturer AstraZeneca.