No idea when AstraZeneca jabs are coming

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THE government is clueless as to when the 3.5 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility are arriving.

In a press briefing culminating day one of the government vaccine rollout, vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez hinted at the global supply shortage of the vaccine as the reason for the delay.

“Wala pa pong definite date. Nakikita natin ang reality on the grounds, acute po ang global shortage of supply,” Galvez said.

Interestingly, some 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine from the World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVAX facility were supposed to be delivered on March 1. However, a few hours before midnight, Health Secretary Francisco Duque made an announcement on what he claimed as “a delay for at least a week.”

“We understand the challenge COVAX is facing because they are supplying the global community. Ang pagkakasabi nila, indefinite ang date of arrival pero hopefully first quarter,” Galvez said.

COVAX is a global initiative where wealthier countries pitch in funding to aid developing countries in their COVID-19 response, including access to COVID-19 vaccines.

AstraZeneca vaccine has an efficacy rate of 70% after the first dose, a rate that will increase after the second dose is given after four to 12 weeks, as per evaluation made by the Philippine Food and Drugs Administration.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to the AstraZeneca jabs only on January 28.

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