The Philippine government is expected to receive 14.89 million doses of vaccines for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) before the month of September ends, the National Task Force against COVID-19 said as the government’s strives to do more in its inoculation program that would include 12-17 years old amid the continuous rise of virus infection.
Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., NTF Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar, said the bulk of the remaining deliveries for this month will come from IS manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna.
“We are very pleased with this good news, especially that many of our local government units, particularly those in the provinces, have started to scale up their vaccine rollout and expand their coverage to include the A4 and A5 priority groups,” said Galvez.
“These will boost our inoculation program, as we firm up the guidelines on the vaccination of the general public and prepare for the rollout for teenagers or those 12 to 17 years old as we wait for the approval of the members of our vaccine expert panel,” he added.
The notice for the increase in the allocation from COVAX has already been relayed to the NTF Against COVID-19 wherein deliveries to the Philippines will increase from 188,370 doses to 10,188,360 doses.
COVAX is a global effort that brought together governments, global health organizations, manufacturers, scientists, private sector, civil society and philanthropy, to provide innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines. It ensures that people in all corners of the world will get access to COVID-19 vaccines once they are available, regardless of their wealth.
Based on the letter, the Philippines will receive in Pfizer vaccines in two tranches—4,354,740 doses and 5,645,250 doses, respectively.
On the other hand, Moderna has started to make arrangements for the shipment of the procured 4,712,770 doses to the Philippines, according to Galvez, adding that the the initial shipment containing 1,250,000 doses is scheduled to arrive this week, while another 961,000 doses will be delivered on September 16.
Two batches of Moderna vaccines are due to arrive on September 19. The first shipment will contain 1,270,720 doses, while the second shipment will have 1,231,050 doses.
The Philippines has secured a total of 20 million doses from Moderna, of which 13 million doses were procured by the national government, while seven million doses were purchased by the private sector.
As of September 15, a total of 1.29 million doses were delivered to the country.
Galvez said that based on the supply agreement with Moderna, the bulk of the vaccine orders will be delivered in the fourth quarter of this year.
Aside from Moderna, the government also procured a total of 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech. The company is set to ship out more than five million doses this month.
So far, Pfizer has delivered 3.18 million doses of the country’s procured orders. Bigger volumes of the secured doses will be delivered beginning October.
LGUs must be ready
Galvez said that with the arrival of more highly-sensitive vaccines, local government units (LGUs) across the country must ensure that they are prepared to accept their respective allocations.
He noted that the current vaccine deployment strategy is now focused on provinces and regions with a high number of cases. This strategy would allow the national government to close the gap between the fully vaccinated individuals in Metro Manila and other regions.
As of September 14, there are now 17,348,671 fully vaccinated individuals in the country. Of this number, more than six million individuals are from the National Capital Region (NCR).
Metro Manila has already completed the inoculation of 62.30 percent of its target population, while the rest of the country is still below 25 percent.
“The LGUs must be ready for these types of vaccines. And we don’t necessarily mean they need to procure ultra-low freezers as there are many supply chain managements companies that offer these services. What is important is that they will have well-trained personnel that are capable in handling as well as administering the vaccines,” said Galvez.
Out of the 187.6 million doses secured by the Philippines from different manufacturers and sources for this year, a total of 56,794,130 doses have been delivered.
Galvez said the NTF continues to negotiate with manufacturers to increase the country’s monthly deliveries to 25 to 30 million doses. For the month of September, the Philippines is expecting to receive more than 34 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.
These are composed of 12 million doses of Sinovac, 10 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech from COVAX facility, five million doses of government-procured Pfizer, four million doses of government and private sector-procured Moderna, one million doses of Sputnik Light, one million doses of private sector and LGU-procured Astrazeneca, and one million doses donated by a partner country.