First batch of Janssen, more AstraZeneca jabs reach PH
Some 1.6 million Janssen and 1.15 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses arrived in the country on Friday, giving the national COVID-19 inoculation program a fresh boost amid the increasing threat from the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
The National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) said it was the first Janssen shipment to reach the country and that a second batch of the single-shot vaccine, consisting of another 1,606,600 doses, is expected to arrive on Saturday.
Earlier on Friday, another batch of AstraZeneca vaccines was formally received by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.
The US Embassy said the Janssen vaccines were donated by the US government and delivered via the COVAX global vaccine pool. “These safe, effective, single-dose vaccines will protect millions of our Filipino #FriendsPartnersAllies from COVID-19,” it said on social media posts.
The US Food and Drug Administration, in a fact sheet updated this month on its emergency use authorization of the Janssen vaccine, noted some adverse reactions, such as blood clots as well as Guillain-Barré syndrome, a nerve disorder resulting from an attack by the immune system.
There have been an initial 100 cases possibly involving Guillain-Barré syndrome out of 12.8 million vaccinees who availed themselves of the Janssen vaccine, according to reports.
But Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Tuesday that “this increased risk still remains very low.”
The NTF said the shots that arrived on Friday brought to 24,788,110 the total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered to the Philippines since February.
Also expected on Saturday, aside from the second tranche of the Janssen vaccines, are 1.5 million doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac procured by the government.
According to Galvez, 6 million more vaccine doses scheduled for July are due to arrive, with another 14 million doses coming in August.
Local governments, especially in Metro Manila, are anticipating the arrival of these vaccines in order to resume first-dose vaccinations.
“A delay of three to six months is still acceptable if COVID-19 vaccine delivery is affected by the global vaccine supply,” the NTF’s National COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center said.
The task force also pointed out that some 10 million Filipinos have been inoculated, with 4 million fully vaccinated, as it welcomed the increase in vaccine confidence, as shown in the latest surveys.
In a poll conducted by the Social Weather Stations from June 23 to June 26, 45 percent of respondents said they were willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. This was up 13 percentage points from May, the polling group noted.
In Pulse Asia’s survey in June, 43 percent of respondents said they were willing to be inoculated—as opposed to 16 percent in Pulse Asia’s poll in February.
“We are pleased to see that more Filipinos are willing to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine,” Galvez said in a statement on Friday.
The government’s own figures have shown a daily average of 300,000 administered doses this month, indicating that many vaccinees on a daily basis.
On July 13, for instance, there were 375,059 doses administered, and 392,283 on July 15.Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Thursday’s figure was the highest number of shots administered in a single day so far. —WITH A REPORT FROM LEILA B. SALAVERRIA
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