1st batch of donated Pfizer jabs arriving in April

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THE first batch of COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer BioNTech will be arriving in the country by next month, says National Task Force Against COVID-19 deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon.

At the Laging Handa public briefing, Dizon said that the 117,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 would be coming as part of the COVAX Facility, which was supposed to arrive last month but was stalled in the absence of an indemnification law in the Philippines.

“Ang commitment ng WHO (World Health Organization), darating itong 117,000 doses ngayong Abril. Malaking bagay po ito sa ating mga health workers na priority nating matapos [na mabakunahan] hanggang sa buwan ng Abril at Mayo,” Dizon said.

To date, the government has been on a rollout of an estimated 1.12 million donated doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Sinovac and AstraZeneca through the same WHO initiative designed to give equitable access of coronavirus vaccines to developing countries like the Philippines.

The country’s COVID-19 vaccination program started last March 1, with health workers and medical frontliners as the priority sectors.

The Philippines has at least 1.7 million health workers and medical frontliners.

Dizon is confident that the 117,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be available to health workers by April.

“Tingin ko aabot po ito kasi we only have around one million doses now and we need 3.4 million doses po ang kinakailangan natin for our health workers,” he said.

Dizon earlier said the government needs to vaccinate 250,000 to 300,000 people per day to meet its target of vaccinating 50 million Filipinos within the year.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. is currently in India to secure 30 million doses of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, which is an American brand but is manufactured in Serum Institute of India, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of medicines.

“We have a goal of inoculating 50 million Filipinos this year. We believe we can hit the target of 250,000-300,000 inoculations per day when the bulk of vaccines arrive,” Dizon told ANC in an interview.

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