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SCHEDULE: Philippines' COVID-19 vaccine deliveries

Facing growing pressure to speed up vaccinations in the Philippines, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr remained confident the government could meet its target of vaccinating 70% of the population, saying the bulk of the country’s supply of COVID-19 shots will start arriving in April. 

For Galvez and the Duterte government’s pandemic task force, a schedule of expected COVID-19 vaccine deliveries is crucial if they are to hold up their promise to achieve herd immunity in the country by the end of 2021. 

Adding to the urgency of vaccinations, the Philippines – one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic in Southeast Asia – is once again experiencing a deadly spike in infections, with daily cases reported shattering records over a year into the outbreak. 

In 2021, Galvez asserted the Philippines would gain access to about 148 million vaccines, including those purchased by the government from vaccine manufacturers and drug firms like AstraZeneca, Novavax, Moderna, Sinovac, Johnson and Johnson (Janssen Pharmaceutica), and the Gamaleya Research Institute. 

Apart from this, the Philippines was also expecting more vaccines from the COVAX global facility led by the World Health Organization. 

Which vaccines have arrived and when can you expect others to be delivered? 

1st Quarter
  • February 28 - 600,000 Sinovac doses donated by China 
  • March 4 - 487,200 AstraZeneca doses from COVAX
  • March 7 - 38,400 AstraZeneca doses from COVAX
  • March 24 - 400,000 Sinovac doses donated by China 
  • March 24 to 26 - 979,200 AstraZeneca doses from COVAX
  • March 29 - 1 million Sinovac doses purchased by government 

On Monday, April 5, World Health Organization Representative Dr Rabindra Abeyasinghe said expected deliveries from COVAX will be delayed due to a shortage of vaccines globally. Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr earlier said the WHO had only given an indicative period for the delivery of more vaccines from the COVAX facility and had yet to give a specific date of arrival. 

Like the Philippines, vaccine deliveries had been delayed for other Asian countries, including Vietnam, Indonesia, and South Korea. India, the world's biggest vaccine maker, had put a temporary hold on exports of AstraZeneca's vaccine being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), as officials focus on meeting rising domestic demand. 

2nd Quarter

April (no specific dates yet) 

  • Sinovac - 1.5 to 2 million doses 
  • Gamaleya’s Sputnik V - 3 million doses
  • COVAX vaccines - 1 million doses

May  (no specific dates yet)

  • Sinovac - 2 million doses
  • Gamaleya - 3 million doses
  • AstraZeneca -2.6 million doses
  • COVAX vaccines - 1 million doses
  • Moderna - 194,000 doses

June (no specific dates yet)

  • Sinovac -4.5 million doses
  • Gamaleya - 4 million doses
  • Novavax - 1 million doses
  • AstraZeneca - 2 million doses 
3rd Quarter

July (no specific dates yet)

  • Sinovac - 3 million doses 
  • Gamaleya - 4 million doses 
  • Moderna - 1 million doses 
  • Novavax - 2 million doses 
  • J&J - 1.5 million doses 
  • AstraZeneca - 2 million doses 

August (No breakdown yet)

  • 20 million doses 

September (No breakdown yet)

  • 20 million doses 
4th Quarter

October (No breakdown yet)

  • 20 million doses 

November (No breakdown yet)

  • 20 million doses 

December (No breakdown yet)

  • 20 million doses 
Why it matters

Suffering one of the worst outbreaks in the region, the Philippines is expected to be one of the last to recover from the pandemic in Southeast Asia. The rollout of vaccines has been listed as one way to help revive the country’s economy which has suffered its worst drop since the end of World War II.

Beset by initial delays in paperwork and negotiations, the Philippines had also been the last country in Southeast Asia to start receiving COVID-19 vaccines. It was among the last in the region to launch its mass vaccine program on March 1, 2021. 

Rollout targets

As soon as the bulk of vaccines start arriving in the Philippines by the second quarter, the government’s pandemic task force targeted to inoculate about 500,000 to 1 million per week from April to May.

From June to July, their target jumped to 1 to 2 million vaccinations weekly. After that, targets were pegged to about 3 to 5 million vaccinations per week.

In terms of priority sectors, a group of medical experts advising the government on its vaccination program said health workers should be the first to receive vaccines, followed by senior citizens, people with comorbidities, indigent populations, and other uniformed and frontline personnel. 

Looking to speed up immunization further when more vaccines arrive, the Philippines' pandemic task force was also considering the simultaneous vaccinations of health workers, elderly, and economic frontliners with the help of local governments and the private sector. At present, vaccination needs to be completed one sector after another. 

This still needs the review of medical experts part of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG). 

Nearly a month into the start of the government's vaccine program, 24% or some 408,995 of the 1.8 million health workers nationwide have been vaccinated. The priority sector comprises about 1% of the Philippines’ population. – Rappler.com

Read Rappler's series of explainers on the Duterte government's vaccine program below:

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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