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Almost 250K Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses arrive in Philippines

The first shipment of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines arrived in the country on Sunday night.

The 249,600 doses arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 before 11 p.m. 



Vaccine czar and National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. was at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 to personally welcome the arrival of the Moderna vaccines.

Health Undersecretary Carol Tanio, US Embassy economic counselor David Gamble Jr., International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) executive vice president Christian Martin Gonzalez, and officials of Zuellig Pharma were also at NAIA to welcome the arrival of the vaccines.

According to the NTF Against COVID-19, of the 249,600 Moderna vaccine doses that arrived, 150,000 were procured by the government and the remaining 99,600 doses were purchased by the private sector led by ICTSI.

This is the second shipment of vaccines to arrive in the country with an allocation for the private sector, after the arrival of Sinovac doses earlier this month.

Twenty million more doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be delivered to the country this year, the NTF Against COVID-19 said. Of this number, 13 million doses were procured by the government, while seven million doses were purchased by the private sector led by ICTSI.

Based on the evaluation of the Philippine Food and Drug Administration, the Moderna vaccine has an efficacy rate of 94% after human trials and can be administered on those aged 18 and above.

Earlier, the US FDA issued a warning about rare cases of myocarditis or heart inflammation among young adults and adolescents after vaccination using Moderna and Pfizer jabs.

However, the US Department of Health And Human Services, joined by leading US doctors groups and public health officials, put out a statement underscoring that the vaccines are safe and effective and that the heart side effect is "extremely rare."

"We strongly encourage everyone age 12 and older who are eligible to receive the vaccine under Emergency Use Authorization to get vaccinated," it said, according to a Reuters report.

The Department of Science and Technology also said there is no reason to stop the inoculation with Pfizer vaccines in the country.

Dr. Jaime Montoya, DOST–Philippine Council for Health Research and Development executive director and an infectious disease expert, said the adverse effect is not permanent. Still it is important to note that these side effects could happen after Pfizer and Moderna inoculation, he added.

A total of 8,407,342 COVID-19 doses have been administered in the Philippines as of June 20, the Department of Health said. Of this number, 6,253,400 shots were for the first dose while 2,153,942 were for the second dose.

The government started its COVID-19 vaccination program on March 1.

Vaccine brands delivered to the Philippines to date include Moderna, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Sputnik V. — BM/KG, GMA News