(UPDATED) The Philippines received Monday night, May 10, 2021, 193,050 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The vaccines, donated through the Covax Facility, arrived via DHL Flight LD457 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.
These will be distributed to vaccination sites in the National Capital Region, Cebu City, Davao City and other key cities with ultra-low cold storage capability, the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 said in a statement.
This is the first batch of the Pfizer messenger RNA vaccine allocated for the Philippines by Covax, according to the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance website.
As of May 10, the Philippines has received a total of 2,749,050 doses from Covax, including the 2.556 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford adenoviral vector vaccine.
The Gavi website says the Philippines has been allocated a total of 4,584,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 2,472,210 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, or a total of 7,056,210 doses from Covax.
The first tranche of AstraZeneca vaccines, consisting of 525,600 doses, was delivered in two batches on March 4 and 8.
All 525,600 doses were administered as first dose in key cities nationwide.
On May 8, the Philippines took delivery of 2,030,400 additional doses of AstraZeneca.
Officials said both brands will be administered to Priority Groups A1 (health workers), A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with comorbidities).
The Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are authorized for emergency use in the Philippines, with the Food and Drug Administration granting an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Pfizer on January 14, 2021 and to AstraZeneca on January 28, 2021.
The Philippines is among 92 low and middle income economies that are eligible to receive vaccine donations or subsidized allocations through the Covax advance market commitment (AMC) mechanism.
Higher income countries that have signed up with the Covax facility are self-financing participants.
Covax is a global initiative that aims to ensure the poorer nations gain access to the vaccines.
It is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness, which invests in research and development of vaccine candidates; Gavi, which coordinates the operation and fundraising for the Covax AMC; World Health Organization, which provides guidance on vaccine policy, regulation and safety, among others; and Unicef, which is the largest single vaccine buyer in the world.
The arrival of the first Pfizer vaccine shipment brings the total number of doses delivered to the Philippines to 7,764,050 as of May 10.
As of May 8, 2,395,494 doses have been administered to 1,951,698 individuals, of whom 443,796 have also received their second dose.
Other vaccines delivered to the Philippines were 5.0 million doses of the Sinovac inactivated vaccine from China and 15,000 doses of Sputnik V from Gamaleya Institute of Russia.
Sinovac was granted an EUA on February 22, 2021 while Sputnik V, which was developed based on human adenoviral vector, was approved on March 19, 2021.
The country’s Covid-19 vaccination program kicked off on March 1, 2021, a day after the arrival of the first Sinovac shipment. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)