Scheduled delivery of AstraZeneca vaccines to PH may be finalized this week
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines may hear within this week an announcement from global vaccine sharing alliance Covax Facility on when Covid-19 vaccines from British–Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca will arrive in the country, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday.
Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO representative to the Philippines, said in an online media forum that the Department of Health (DOH) has already supplied all the necessary letters to Covax for the initial rollout of AstraZeneca jabs.
He said the Philippines “has met all requirements necessary for accessing the AstraZeneca vaccines.”
“My understanding is that there is no requirement in the case of AstraZeneca for further exchange of letters between the manufacturer and the Philippine government, so we are optimistic that before the end of this week we will hear from the Covax initiative on the likely delivery dates of AstraZeneca vaccines to the Philippines,” he said.
He added that the WHO is looking at how to accelerate the delivery of vaccines from AstraZeneca to the country.
Meanwhile, Abeyasinghe also said that the necessary commitments from the Philippine government to the Covax Facility were all fulfilled in time. However, he noted that there have been some delays in finalizing some requirements between Pfizer-BioNTech and the government.
“I have seen some communication last night which now indicates that measures are being taken to address those issues and we believe that the limited quantity of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will be shipped as early as possible once the exchange of letters is completed and the requirements are met by the Philippine government and the manufacturer, Pfizer-BioNTech,” he added.
Abeyasinghe earlier expressed optimism that the Philippines will receive the 44 million doses allocated by the Covax Facility within 2021, with up to 9.2 million doses arriving in the country within the first and second quarter of the year.
Initial vaccine doses from Pfizer-BioNTech were supposed to arrive in the Philippines in mid-February through Covax but the delivery faced delays due to the processing of some documents.
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