The first batch of Pfizer vaccine arrives

(UPDATE) The Philippines received on Monday evening, May 10, 2021, 193050 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

The vaccines, donated by the Covax Facility, arrived via DHL flight LD457 at Terminal 2 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

This is the first batch of Pfizer mRNA vaccine awarded to the Philippines by Covax, according to Gavi’s website, the Vaccine Alliance.

As of May 10, the Philippines had received a total of 2,749,050 doses of Covax, including 2.556 million doses of the AstraZeneca / Oxford adenoviral vector vaccine.

Gavi’s website indicates that the Philippines received a total of 4,584,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine and 2,472,210 doses of Pfizer vaccine, for a total of 7,056,210 doses of Covax.

The first tranche of AstraZeneca vaccines, consisting of 525,600 doses, was delivered in two batches on March 4 and 8.

The 525,600 doses were administered as the first dose in the main cities of the country.

On May 8, the Philippines received an additional 2,030,400 doses of AstraZeneca.

Officials said both brands will be administered to priority groups A1 (health workers), A2 (elderly) and A3 (people with co-morbidities).

Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are cleared for emergency use in the Philippines, with the Food and Drug Administration granting Emergency Use Clearance (EUA) to Pfizer on January 14, 2021 and AstraZeneca on January 28, 2021.

The Philippines is among 92 low- and middle-income economies eligible to receive vaccine donations or subsidized allocations through the Covax Pre-Market Commitment Mechanism (AMC).

Higher income countries that have enrolled in the Covax facility are self-funded participants.

Covax is a global initiative that aims to ensure that the poorest countries have access to vaccines.

It is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness, which invests in the research and development of vaccine candidates; Gavi, who coordinates operations 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 world’s largest purchaser of vaccines.

The arrival of the first shipment of Pfizer vaccine 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 had been administered to 1,951,698 people, of whom 443,796 had also received their second dose.

Other vaccines delivered to the Philippines were 5.0 million doses of inactivated Sinovac vaccine from China and 15,000 doses of Sputnik V from the Gamaleya Institute in Russia.

Sinovac was granted EUA on February 22, 2021, while Sputnik V, developed from a human adenoviral vector, was approved on March 19, 2021.

The country’s vaccination program against Covid-19 began on March 1, 2021, a day after the arrival of the first shipment of Sinovac. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)

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