The Philippines is receiving its biggest single-day COVID-19 vaccine delivery on Thursday.
One million Sinovac doses purchased by the government and over 2.2 million Pfizer shots from the COVAX Facility have arrived in the country.
The freshly-delivered Sinovac doses will be distributed to Metro Manila, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao so they can finally vaccinate essential workers or the A4 group. These areas, collectively known as NCR+8, are prioritized in the vaccine allocation due to frequent COVID-19 case spikes.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. apologized for the delay in vaccine distribution, which led to the postponement of the vaccination of workers in NCR+8. He explained that the seven million doses that were scheduled to arrive in May were reduced to 4.5 million doses, but he is optimistic the deployment will be more stable by mid-June.
Meanwhile, the Pfizer vaccines will be given to health workers, senior citizens, and people with comorbidities. The World Health Organization requires nations receiving donations from COVAX to prioritize the most vulnerable sectors.
Metro Cebu and Metro Davao will each get 210,000 Pfizer shots while the rest of the vaccines will be distributed in Metro Manila.
An additional 100,000 Sputnik V vaccine doses will arrive on Friday.
“Our vaccine supply will begin to normalize by June 14 with various shipments from different vaccine makers,” Galvez said on Wednesday.
More than 11 million doses are expected to be delivered in the country this month, another 11 million doses in July, and 17 million doses in August.
Galvez said bulk of the COVID-19 vaccines of the country will be focused on 1,500 barangays nationwide identified as “centers of gravity” of the local pandemic.
The government has so far received over 9 million COVID-19 vaccines, with some 6 million COVID-19 shots already administered. To date, 1.6 million individuals have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.