Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte personally welcomed the arrival of one million doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines, the first batch of vaccines paid for by the government to reach the country.
The ceremony began at around 5:30 pm on Monday, March 29, at Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.
With Duterte were Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian, and a few other officials.
The Palace had sought an exception to the mass gathering ban from the National Task Force vs COVID-19 for the event to push through.
The one million doses of CoronaVac, the name of the Sinovac vaccine, cost the Philippine government P700 million, Malacañang said earlier on Monday. This means each dose cost the government P700. CoronaVac requires two doses, which means a full vaccine costs P1,400.
In total, the government intends to buy 25 million doses of CoronaVac. (SCHEDULE: Philippines' COVID-19 vaccine deliveries)
The previous two shipments of CoronaVac, totaling one million doses, had been donations from the Chinese government.
This new arrival of CoronaVac doses brings the total number of vaccine doses in the country to over 2.5 million – still not enough to vaccinate the country's total 1.7 million healthcare workers.
However, the government still expects some 979,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to arrive either at the end of March or in early April. These vaccines are from the global vaccine sharing initiative COVAX Facility, led by the World Health Organization. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.