The United States is sending over 3 million Johnson & Johnson (Janssen Pharmaceuticals) vaccine doses to the Philippines through the COVAX global vaccine sharing facility, Philippine vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Thursday, July 8.
In an interview on ANC's Headstart, Galvez said a final delivery date has yet to be determined, but the doses are expected to be shipped within the month.
Galvez said 3,024,000 J&J doses will be given to the Philippines, with at least 100,000 doses to be distributed per region.
Unlike other vaccines, the J&J vaccine requires only one dose, making it easier for countries to roll out the jab.
The J&J vaccine is expected to boost the Philippines' vaccine drive, where demand still outstrips supply and local governments continuously face shortages of vaccines. It will be the sixth vaccine brand to be used in the country.
In a separate statement, Galvez said that because the J&J doses will be donated through COVAX, the government's priority list for COVID-19 vaccines must be strictly followed.
"All COVAX-donated vaccines will be used strictly to inoculate A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with comorbidities)," Galvez said.
The US' donation of J&J vaccines will be the first of at least two shipments expected. Aside from donations shipped through COVAX, the US earlier announced the Philippines is included in a list of countries which will directly receive vaccine doses from the US government.
The Philippines' Food and Drug Administration earlier granted emergency approval for J&J's vaccine and cleared the US donation for emergency use.
J&J recently announced that its single-dose vaccine showed strong promise against the Delta variant and other emerging strains, and also provided durable protection against the infection more broadly.
The US' plan to donate to several countries fulfills President Joe Biden's earlier commitment to share 80 million American-made vaccines around the world. It also comes as concerns grow over the disparity in vaccinations seen in advanced countries and the developing world.
The Philippines has also received 1 million doses donated by China in recent months and is expecting to get about 1 million AstraZeneca doses donated by Japan on Thursday. – with reports from Reuters/Rappler.com