THE much-awaited coronavirus vaccines from China have arrived, marking the start of the country’s inoculation program. The shipment landed at around 4:00 pm Sunday at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.
Although the arrival of the 600,000 doses of the China-made Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines called CoronaVac ends months of waiting, vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez hinted at the delivery of the donated vaccines as a landmark development despite seeing the Philippines the last country in Southeast Asia to receive a legitimate vaccine shipment.
According to Galvez, the country’s first shots will be administered starting Monday in government-designated COVID-19 referral hospitals in the National Capital Region.
Top government officials are expected to take the first shots Monday in compliance with an order of President Rodrigo Duterte. They are Sec. Galvez, Health Secretary Francisco Duque, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos, Interior and Local Government acting Secretary Bernardo Florece and Food and Drug Administration Director-General Eric Domingo.
Galvez and Roque are set to be inoculated at the Philippine General Hospital, while Duque, Abalos and Domingo are taking shots at the Philippine Lung Center in Quezon City. Florece will be injected at the PNP General Hospital in Camp Crame.
Interestingly, recent surveys showed only one of five Filipinos are willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine amid doubts on the efficacy and safety of the China-made vaccines.
A survey conducted by the Octa Research Group claimed 58 percent of the population doesn’t trust the Chinese vaccines.
On Monday, March 1, 525,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were also set to land on Philippine soil.
Between Sinovac and AstraZeneca, which both have emergency use authorization, most local government units in the country have preferred the latter than those developed, manufactured and distributed by China.