The Philippines now has 3 million doses of CoronaVac, the vaccine developed by Sinovac, with the arrival of 500,000 more doses on Thursday evening, April 22.
The shipment landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at around 5:15 pm. It was welcomed by vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr and other officials.
This latest delivery is part of the total 25 million CoronaVac doses purchased by the Philippine government. Of the 3 million CoronaVac doses now in the country, two million were procured, while one million doses were donated by the Chinese government.
The Thursday delivery brings the country's total number of vaccine doses to 3,525,600.
Earlier on Thursday, Galvez said around a fifth of the 500,000 CoronaVac doses will go to Metro Manila where some cities have had to halt vaccination drives due to a lack of vaccines.
“Karamihan dito, more or less 100,000 po mapupunta sa Metro Manila. Matatapos po ito within two to three days ang deployment,” said Galvez in a Malacañang press briefing.
(Most of this, more or less 100,000, will go to Metro Manila. Deployment will be done in two to three days.)
Galvez expects the doses to be administered to Filipinos within a week.
The country is currently finishing the vaccination of the elderly and persons with comorbidities. After initially recommending against the use of CoronaVac among the elderly, the Phiippines' Food and Drug Administration has allowed it.
Local governments, especially in Metro Manila and provinces with high transmissions, are readying for larger scale vaccinations of economic frontliners, the so-called A4 priority group.
Within the month of April, the Philippines expects to receive 518,000 more COVID-19 vaccines – 500,000 more CoronaVac doses and 18,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.