Philippines receives first batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccines

The Philippines received its first batch of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, May 1, the presidential office said.

The 15,000 doses of Sputnik V, developed by Russia's Gamaleya Institute, will be used in four cities in the capital region, the Philippines' coronavirus hotspot, the Department of Health said.

It was supposed to arrive on April 25, but was delayed by logistical issues.

In a statement, National Task Force vs COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr thanked the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Russian Ambassador Mara Pavlov for the delivery and said these vaccines will help contain the surge of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila.

"Through this trial phase for Sputnik V, we will not only be able to improve the logistics component of our vaccine program, but also prepare the implementing units in receiving and administering this type of vaccine," Galvez said.

The Philippines is negotiating to buy 20 million doses of Sputnik V, as part of its target to inoculate up to 70 million adults this year.

It has so far received 4.04 million vaccine doses, more than 86% of which were from China's Sinovac Biotech and the rest from AstraZeneca through the COVAX facility. More than 1.8 million doses had been administered as of April 27, government data showed.

With nearly 1.05 million infections and 17,354 deaths, the Philippines is battling one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Asia. –