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COVAX may now donate Chinese vaccines; Philippines willing to receive

The Philippines is willing to accept either of the Chinese-made vaccines that COVAX will now be distributing to beneficiary countries, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said Monday.

During the weekly "Talk to the People" briefing led by President Rodrigo Duterte, Galvez said the Philippines is willing to receive either Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccines from the global vaccine-sharing facility and that these will most likely be available next month.

"[Ang] COVAX baka mag-donate ng Chinese vaccine, either Sinopharm or Sinovac," said Galvez.

"Ang sabi namin, we are willing to receive Sinovac or Sinopharm. Kung ano po available," he added.

Vaccine alliance GAVI, which runs the COVAX scheme with the World Health Organization, said last week that it had signed two advance purchase agreements with the Chinese drugmakers to provide up to 550 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to the program.

The deals will include up to 170 million doses of the Sinopharm shot and up to 380 million shots of the Sinovac vaccine, through to the middle of 2022.

The vaccine czar also said the Philippines currently has a stockpile of 12,826,099 vaccine doses, enough for an average of 400,000 jabs daily for 32 days.

This means, Galvez said, the country will have a supply that will last up to August 17.

So far, the country has received 27,922,360 COVID-19 vaccine doses since it started its vaccination program in March. The largest volume of weekly vaccine deliveries in the country was achieved in the period from July 14 to July 17 with 7,142,450 doses received.

The Philippines is still expecting a shipment of 136.1 million doses within the next six months, Galvez said.

The vaccine czar added that COVID-19 jabs will be deployed to areas of concern amid the Delta variant. These include northern Mindanao, Metro Manila, Western Visayas, and areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ (MECQ).

Acquired vaccines, contracts

Galvez also revealed that the national government has signed a contract with COVAX to purchase an additional 5 million doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In total, Galvez said, the Philippines has acquired 164 million vaccine doses, consisting of:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech - 40 million doses
  • Sinovac -  26 million doses
  • Moderna - 20 million doses
  • AstraZeneca -  17 million doses
  • Sputnik V - 10 million  doses
  • COVAX donation - 44 million doses
  • COVAX cost-sharing (Johnson & Johnson) - 5 million doses
  • Donations from Japan and China - 2 million doses

According to the Department of Health, over 4.7 million individuals are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of July 18, with 15,096,261 doses administered across 1,297 active vaccination sites. — BM, GMA News