The newest batch of AstraZeneca vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) finally arrived in the country on Friday morning, September 10.
The shipment that carried 502,000 doses of AstraZeneca was transported via China Airlines flight CI-701 at Terminal 1 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City around 9:35 a.m.
Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, said the vaccines were procured by the private sector under the "Dose of Hope" program.
He said 80 percent of the supply will be alloted for the inoculation of economic frontliners (A4) through the local government units (LGUs).
Meanwhile, the remaining 20 percent will be allocated to the private sector for the use of their employees.
The total vaccine inventory has now reached 53,294,230 doses. This includes 8,934,240 AstraZeneca jabs.
At 5:55 p.m. Friday, Sinovac Biotech will deliver 1.5 million doses of its CoronaVac vaccine. These were pro ured by the government from the Chinese manufacturer.
The delivery came as Galvez revealed in a House of Representatives hearing last Thursday that the national government would no longer enter into multi-party agreements (MPAs) with private sectors and LGUs for the meantime due to slippages in vaccine production and deliveries around the world.
“I need to have prudent judgement on securing and entering into agreements. We cannot sign without the indicative delivery dates. Dapat kumpleto dahil lahat ng kontrata natin mayroon n’yan para alam natin kung sakaling magkaroon ng slippages,” Galvez said during the hearing conducted by the House Committee on Economic Affairs.
The COVID-19 Vaccination Act of 2021 or RA 11525 allows local government units (LGUs) and private firms to procure vaccine supplies through MPAs with the national government.
However, Galvez said that the requests for MPAs for the purchase of vaccines that are included in the country’s vaccine portfolio were put on hold primarily because of supply concerns in the global market.
“Ang problema ay hindi ang contract but ang supply. Mali ang assumption na kapag napirmahan na ang contract, nandyan na ang supply (The problem is not the contract but the supply. The assumption that once the contract is given, there will already be a supply is wrong). Manufacturers cannot give us yet definite supply," he explained.
The vaccine czar underscored that supply issues were the main reason for slippages in the deliveries of Moderna, Astrazeneca, and Sputnik V vaccines.