The distribution of the newly-delivered COVID-19 vaccines will begin on Sunday, the Health Department said, but noted that their allocation will prioritize areas at high risk for the coronavirus.
In the government’s Laging Handa briefing on Saturday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the move aims to protect vulnerable sectors in the COVID-19 hotspots.
“‘Yung allocation, nagawa na po. At bukas, magu-umpisa tayong mag-distribute,” Vergeire said. “Meron tayong bias ngayon sa ating mga lugar na matataas po ang kaso.”
[Translation: The allocation has already been completed, and tomorrow, we’ll start distributing. We will have a bias on places where cases are high.]
Despite this, Vergeire assured the public that other regions will get their share of future vaccines.
“‘Yun nga lang po, nauuna nang konti ito pong nasa NCR Plus,” she maintained.
[Translation: But the distribution will first prioritize those in the NCR Plus.]
The Philippines on Thursday received another half a million doses of China’s Sinovac — the latest batch of coronavirus vaccines procured by the government.
The country is also expecting an initial shipment of 15,000 Sputnik V vaccines on Sunday, which Vergeire said will only be given to select local government units due to the product’s complex storage requirements.
Vergeire noted the Sputnik V can only be stored in a dark place, with the temperature not exceeding -18 degrees.
“Kaya pagdating po ng Sputnik V, meron lang po tayong mga [That’s why when the Sputnik V arrives, we only have] assigned local governments that will receive because they have the capability to store these kinds of vaccines,” the official said.
COVID-19 cases in the country inched closer to 980,000 on Friday, after the DOH tallied 8,719 new infections.