US completes 3.2M vaccine donations to PH

Published July 17, 2021, 5:05 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

An additional 1,606,600 doses of Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were delivered in the country on Saturday afternoon, July 17, which came from the donations of the United States government.

An additional 1.6 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine against COVID-19 arrive at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City on July 17, 2021. (Photo courtesy of National Task Force Against COVID-19)

The delivery of the single-dose jab was the second tranche of vaccine donations from the US. This completed the commitment of American Pres. Joe Biden to distribute 80 million vaccines for free around the world this month, including 3.2 million doses to the Philippines.

The first tranche consisted of 1,606,600 doses arrived last Friday. Both deliveries were coursed through the Covax facility, a World Health Organization (WHO)-led global inititative which seeks to provide countries with an equal access to the life-saving jabs.

An Emirates Airlines plane carrying the shipment landed on Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City at 4:21 p.m. via flight EK 0332.

Top government officials led by Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr., Economic Sec. Karl Chua, US Embassy Charges d’Affaires John Law, UNICEF Nutrition Manager Alice Nkoroi, representatives from the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 and Department of Health (DOH) among others witnessed the arrival of the vaccines.

“I believe that in the very near future, we will see a very large donation to the Philippines from the United States,” said Law.

He said the US will purchase and distribute an additional 200 million Pfizer vaccines around the world by the end of 2021, and another 300 million doses of Pfizer in the first half of 2022.

(From L-R) UNICEF Nutrition Manager Alice Nkoroi, Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr., US Charges d’Affaires John Law, and Economic Secretary Karl Chua witness the arrival of 1.6 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine against COVID-19 that were donated to the Philippines by the US government on July 17, 2021. (Photo courtesy of National Task Force Against COVID-19)

Meanwhile, the J&J vaccines will be equitably distributed in all 17 regions around the country.

However, an additional supply will be allotted in regions where the more transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus is detected. These areas include the National Capital Region (NCR), Western Visayas (Region 6), and Northern Mindanao (Region 10).

The three regions will receive around 100,000 doses of the single-dose vaccine.

Other regions such as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Central Luzon (Region 3), Calabarzon (Region 4A), Bicol (Region 5), Central Visayas (Region 7), Eastern Visayas (Region 8), and Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9) will aslo get additional supplies due to an observed spike in their cases.

This means that these regions will be able to fully vaccinate 100,000 individuals at most since the vaccine only requires one dose to achieve its maximum efficiency, unlike other brands that need two doses.

The DOH said that the vaccine, manufactured by Janssen pharmaceutical company, is 67 percent effective against moderate to severe cases, and 77 percent to 85 percent effective in preventing severe to critical infections.

It also generated a “strong, persistent activity” against the rapidly spreading Delta variant and other highly prevalent variants of the coronavirus, the Johnson & Johnson announced last July 1.

It was also tested against the United Kingdom (UK) variant, Brazilian variant, and South African variant of the coronavirus.

Janssen was given an emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use its vaccine in the country on April 19, 2021.

Senior citizens and persons with co-morbidities who belong to the A2 and A3 priority sectors, respectively, will be given the J&J vaccine.

With the delivery, the total vaccine supply in the country increased to 27,894,710 doses.