More than 1.3 million doses of Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine were delivered at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 on Tuesday, Nov. 16.
The shipment carrying 1,353,800 doses of the government-procured jabs arrived via China Airlines flight CI703 around 9: 30 a.m.
Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, said the newly delivered vaccines will be used as booster shots for healthcare workers and the continuing inoculation of children and adolescents aged 12 to 17. The administration of booster shots will begin on Wednesday, Nov. 17.
“This will be allocated for our children’s vaccination or our vaccination of minors. Second, it will be used also for boosters,” he told reporters at the airport.
The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday finally gave the green light for the administration of booster shots to fully vaccinated healthcare workers. It recommended the use of Moderna, Pfizer, and Sinovac shots as booster doses regardless of the brand injected to them during their primary inoculation.
Galvez said that for the booster shot administration, the DOH recommended a heterologous vaccination or cross-mixing of vaccine brands while vaccine manufacturers opted for a homologous vaccination or the use of vaccine brand that is similar to what was injected to a recipient during his/her primary vaccination.
The vaccine czar noted that healthcare workers now have the freedom to choose what brand they want as booster shots since there is already a steady supply of jabs although they are still reolcommending the vaccine recipients to just get what’s available at the vaccination site.
“As much as possible mayroon silang leeway [to choose] pero we are recommending na kung ano ang available, iyon ang i-take nila. Nakita natin sa inilabas na real world data, lahat ng vaccines naman effective and it’s beyond 80 percent ang ating prevention for severe [cases] and hospitalization (As much as possible, they have the leeway [to choose] but we are recommending them to take whatever is available. We have seen from the real world data that all the vaccines are effective and offers up to 80 percent prevention for severe [cases] and hospitalization),” Galvez said.
Meanwhile, the administration of booster shots for other priority individuals such as senior citizens and persons with comorbidities is already being planned by the NTF and the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC).
“Tignan natin next week baka magsimula na rin tayo. We are coordinating with NVOC na isabay-sabay na natin para at least tumaas ang ating [daily] vaccination [output] to 1.5 million [doses] (Let’s see if we can start it by next week. We are coordinating with NVOC to simultaneously launch it so we can at least increase our [daily] vaccination [output] to 1.5 million [doses]),” Galvez stated.
So far, the country has already received a total of 124,914,000 doses of COVId-19 vaccines and around 16 million doses more are expected to be delivered until the end of December 2021.
More than 38,809,651 individuals have already received their first dose while 31,868,120 have been fully vaccinated. The fully vaccinated population represented 41.31 percent of the 77 million eligible population that the government aims to vaccinate by the end of the year to achieve herd immunity.
There were also 54,236,229 doses stored in government warehouses.