THE Philippines on Saturday, May 8, 2021, took delivery of over 2.0 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine donated through the Covax Facility.
The shipment, consisting of 2,030,400 doses, brought the total volume of AstraZeneca vaccine delivered to the Philippines to 2.556 million doses.
The National Task Force Against Covid-19 said the vaccine was transported via a Singapore Airlines flight from The Netherlands, which arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 at 12:49 p.m. Saturday.
The first delivery of AstraZeneca vaccines from Covax, totaling 525,600 doses, arrived in two batches about 10 weeks earlier on March 4 and March 7.
All 525,600 doses were administered as first dose before the Department of Health (DOH) suspended its use for adults under 60 years old in early April amid reports of very rare blood clots with low platelet counts. The DOH announced the lifting of the suspension on May 7.
With the arrival of these additional vaccines, those inoculated with AstraZeneca are certain to get their second dose. The AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed from chimpanzee adenoviral vector, is administered in two doses up to 12 weeks apart.
As of May 8, the Philippines has received a total of 7,571,000 doses of vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Aside from the 2.556 million doses of AstraZeneca, the country also took delivery of 5.0 million doses of Sinovac vaccine from China and 15,000 doses of Sputnik V from Gamaleya Institute of Russia.
As of May 4, more than 2.06 million doses have been administered to 1,744,649 citizens, of whom 320,586 have also received their second dose.
The Philippines is one of 92 low and middle-income countries that have been selected to benefit from donated vaccines through the Covax Facility, a global initiative co-led by the Gavi, Vaccine Alliance to promote vaccine equity.
Under the first round of Covax allocations, the Philippines is programmed to receive 4.584 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 117,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)