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415,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines due on August 2, 2021, says British envoy

Some 415,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines donated by the United Kingdom to the Philippines are tentatively scheduled to arrive in the country on August 2, Britain’s ambassador said on Friday.

Ambassador Daniel Pruce, who’s ending his tour of duty in Manila after four years, said the doses would support the Philippines’s vaccine roll-out program.

The government has so far been dealing with a less than adequate supply of COVID-19 jabs to inoculate 70% percent of the country's population.

“The UK is helping COVID-19 vaccines reach more countries. We ae donating 415,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the Philippines so that more people here can get vaccinated,” Pruce said in a statement following a meeting with Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin.

Around 100 million vaccines were pledged by the UK to poorer nations and will be delivered in tranches until June 2022. Of this figure, 80 million will go to the vaccine-sharing facility COVAX.

The vaccines are expected to start leaving the UK this week, Pruce said, with the Philippine among the countries set to receive the doses.

Apart from AstraZeneca, the Philippines has granted emergency use to vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna,  Johnson&Johnson, Sputnik V, and Sinovac.

Manila has been a recipient of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, as well as bilateral donations from Japan, China, and the United States - the biggest vaccine donor to the Philippines. 

To date, the Philippines has administered at least 8 million doses to adults, of which six million were first  doses, a sluggish progress to its target of vaccinating 70 million of its 100 million population by yearend. —NB, GMA News