THE Philippines is expecting COVAX facility to call anytime and only then will the government determine the date of the arrival in the country of COVID-19 vaccines, says presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
At the press briefing, Roque said the COVAX facility is expected to inform the country soon as to when the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines from their facility are due to arrive, adding that the government is ready to rollout COVID-19 vaccinations by mid-month or February 15.
“Ang magsasabi po ang COVAX facility [kung kailan darating]. We expect them to notify us two to three days before para makapaghanda sa pagsundo sa airport dahil nga po sub-zero [ang kailangang storage temperature],” Roque said.
Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 requires a cold storage with -70 to -80 degrees Celsius.
“COVAX said it will be made available mid-February. As far as we are concerned, handang handa na po tayo sa pagbabakuna. We are ready to do it by February 15,” Roque added.
Under the government’s COVID-19 mass vaccination plan, frontline workers in health facilities, particularly those in COVID-19 referral hospitals, will be the first to get the COVID-19 vaccine due to limited supply.
Palace earlier hinted that the vaccination of medical frontliners will not take a month.
“We expect COVAX to contact us anytime now,” Roque added.
The first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility is expected to include at least 117,000 doses.
Another 5.5 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are also expected to be made available to the country via the COVAX facility during the first quarter.
“Ang frontline health workers po natin ay 1.4 million. Hindi ko po alam ilan ang expanded [number of frontliner workers in health facilities], pero may sapat po tayong supply kasi may darating na AstraZeneca na 5.5 million doses,” Roque pointed out.
Both Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca are administered in two doses.
The Philippine Food and Drug Administration has issued emergency use authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after these were found to have an efficacy rate of 92 percent to 95 percent and 70 percent, respectively.