Covid-19 vaccines from COVAX may arrive by Q1—DOH
MANILA, Philippines — The first tranche of the Covid-19 vaccines from the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility may arrive within the first quarter of 2021, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.
“They are looking at the first quarter of 2021. Iyon, very specific iyon sa sulat na binigay sa amin. As for the exact date, wala pa pong binibigay,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters in an online press briefing.
COVAX is a global procurement mechanism that aims to ensure rapid, fair, and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines for people in all countries. It is inspired by similar previous mechanisms that facilitated universal access to pneumococcal and Ebola vaccines.
The Philippines is set to receive up to 40 million free Covid-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility, according to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. This is after the facility formally approved the allocation for the Philippines but the specific brand of the vaccine it will deliver has yet to be divulged.
Initially, COVAX had committed to supply vaccines for 20% of each participating country. But due to lack of resources, Vergeire said it lowered its commitment to about 15 to 16% of the population.
“Doon sa 15 to 16%, iyong mga unang doses na maibibgay would be about 3% muna ng population or less. So it’s going to be in tranches,” the DOH official said.
But this would not affect the country’s vaccination plan, Vergeire added, noting that the 148 million doses of vaccines that have been negotiated as mentioned by Galvez are sufficient enough to cover the Filipino population.
“At lagi po nating tatandaan, hindi pa po kasama ang mga bata sa kinukwenta natin,” she said.
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