The Covid-19 vaccine rollout in the Philippines just got a significant boost, thanks to the arrival of at least 193,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. The much-needed supply was donated by Covax, a global initiative set up to ensure equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines. Thailand declined to join Covax when given the opportunity, preferring to strike deals with manufacturers directly.
The shipment is the fourth consignment of Covid-19 vaccines to be delivered via Covax and the first shipment of Pfizer doses to arrive in the Philippines. Coconuts reports that in total, Covax has donated 2.74 million vaccine doses to the Philippines, which includes the latest delivery of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. It’s understood that over the weekend, 2 million doses of AstraZeneca also arrived via Covax.
The Philippines’ Health Secretary, Francisco Duque, says the Pfizer doses will be administered in Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao, to healthcare workers, the elderly and people with underlying conditions that put them at greater risk from Covid-19.
“We have been working hard to bring these vaccines to the country especially with the scarce global supply of Covid-19 vaccines. We thank the Covax facility and all of our partners for making this possible.”
Coconuts reports that the Pfizer shipment was supposed to arrive in February but was delayed due to a lack of an indemnity law, which caught the government off-guard. Prior to the arrival of the Pfizer doses, thousands of doses of Sinovac, Sputnik V, and AstraZeneca have been administered to the population, but the rollout has been slow up to now. The government says it aims to have the rest of the population vaccinated by August.