BOC clears Sputnik V jabs; says 9 vaccine batches accounted for so far

The Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of NAIA has cleared the first batch of Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines that arrived in the country from Russia over the weekend.

(Photo by Ariel Fernandez/ MANILA BULLETIN)

The cargo, which contains 15,000 doses, was flown in to the Philippines Saturday, May 1, via a Qatar airlines flight.

The BOC said this was the ninth batch of COVID-19 vaccines to be cleared by the agency this year. Previously cleared vaccine batches include 3.5 million doses from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and 525,600 doses from British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca.

Sputnik V was developed by the Russia-based Gamaleya Institute. Last March, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Russian vaccine for emergency use in the Philippines.

National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.; IATF Chair and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III; Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Marat Pavlo; and Undersecretary Robert Borje, chief of the Presidential Protocol and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs witnessed the arrival of the jabs.

BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero has instructed the BOC Covax Special Handling Team to ensure that all COVID-19 vaccine shipments are given priority and their clearance expedited.

The team was also tasked to assist in transporting the vaccines from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to its designated storage facility.