First Covax vaccine shipment to arrive March 1


MALACAÑANG said the Philippines will receive 525,600 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) on Monday, March 1, 2021.

This will be the first vaccine shipment through the Covax facility, which aims to vaccinate an average of 20 percent of the population of 92 low and middle-income countries worldwide against Covid-19.

The Philippines is among the lower middle income countries eligible to access the Covax advance market commitment of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi), which will also cover part of the cost.

Together with the 600,000 doses of donated Sinovac vaccine, there will be more than 1.1 million doses of vaccines in the next two days.

The Sinovac donation was scheduled to arrive Sunday, February 28.

Under the prioritization framework approved by the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (Nitag), healthcare workers from 34 hospitals will get first priority in the vaccine rollout.

Of these 34 hospitals, 32 are in Metro Manila. The two others are Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City and Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.

Nitag and Department of Health (DOH) officials have stressed that vaccination is purely voluntary.

Healthcare workers, being in the frontline in the fight against Covid-19, are merely given the “right of first refusal after an informed choice.”

Read: Healthcare workers retain vaccination priority slots

The healthcare workers, both public and private nationwide, belong to Priority Group A1. Others in this group are health professionals and non-professionals like students, nursing aides, janitors and barangay health workers.

Next in line are other population groups under Priority Group A:

A2: Senior citizens aged 60 years old and above

A3: Persons with comorbidities not otherwise included in the preceding categories

A4: Frontline personnel in essential sectors including uniformed personnel and those in working sectors identified by the IATF as essential during ECQ

A5: Indigent population not otherwise included in the preceding categories

Under the government’s national vaccination plan against Covid-19, nearly 25 million people under Priority Group A are targeted to be vaccinated in 2021.

Read: Special Report: Government prepares for vaccine rollout

Priority Group B, which will be vaccinated after Priority Group A, is composed of: B1 - teachers, social workers; B2 - other government workers; B3 - other essential workers; B4 - socio-demographic groups at significantly higher risk other than senior citizens and indigenous people; B5 - overseas Filipino workers; and B6 - other remaining workforce.

By 2023, the rest of the Filipino population is targeted to be vaccinated. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)


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