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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Vaccine supply assured

Over nine million vaccines due to arrive within first half of 2021

MANILA – World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said he remains optimistic the country will receive 44 million doses allocated by the COVAX Facility within the year with up to 9.2 million doses arriving within the first semester of the year.

The delivery will commence as soon as the Philippines accomplishes the necessary arrangements required by the COVAX facilities to ensure the smooth vaccine rollout and other requirements of the manufacturers Pfizer BioNTech and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Abeyasinghe said when all the requirements have been fulfilled, the Philippines would be on track for the delivery of 9.2 million doses from the COVAX facility by March or April this year.

“We are optimistic that the remainder of the 44 million doses will come later on in the year,” he said. The 9.2 million AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in South Korea, if it can maintain the targeted manufacturing capacity. This follows the announcement that the COVAX Facility will be able to deliver about 117,000 doses of Pfizer BioNTech within the second or third week of February.

The WHO country representative said the goal of COVAX is to facilitate the development and manufacture of the needed vaccines and guarantee fair and equitable access for every country to mitigate the impact of the pandemic at the same time save lives and assure immediate economic recovery.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said the government is meeting its timetable preparing the cold-chain facilities and manpower.

“We have been implementing immunization for decades already, and most of these vaccines that are forthcoming would be currently for logistical side 2 to 8 degrees. We already have these kinds of facilities and equipment. With these ultra-low freezers, we have end-to-end agreements with manufacturers where they will assist us from the time that the vaccines arrive here to the storage and the distribution,” Secretary Duque said.

He added they are working to align the deployment and vaccination plan up to the local government units. (Melo M. Acuña)

Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, MD. WHO Philippine Country Representative. (File Photo/Melo M. Acuna)

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