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Philippines to donate 2M Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine doses to Myanmar

Two million doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine are expected to be delivered to Myanmar by the end of June or the first week of July, according to a Department of Health (DOH) official on Wednesday.

At the Laging Handa briefing, National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) chairperson Dr. Myrna Cabotaje said that arrangements are currently being undertaken to facilitate the contribution to the Myanmar Red Cross.

“We are negotiating with Myanmar…ang hirap ng proseso (the process is difficult). We are awaiting the concurrence of the government of Myanmar kasi ang pagbibigyan natin ay Red Cross ng Myanmar (because we will give it to the Myanmar Red Cross). Hopefully, maibigay natin (we can give them) by the end of the month or first week of July,” she said.

National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa earlier said that around three million COVID-19 vaccine doses would be donated to other Southeast Asian countries like Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

Cabotaje emphasized that there will be an adequate vaccine supply for the Philippines to last until the end of the year.

However, the Philippine government will halt the purchase of vaccines until the COVID-19 immunization is made available for children under the age of five, she added.

"May dadating pa na COVAX donations. So, hindi po bibili ang gobyerno ng bagong mga vaccines, unless mag-open na ‘yung below five years old dahil may special formulation ‘yan,” she said.

(There will be more COVAX donations that will arrive. The government will not procure new vaccines unless we expand the vaccination to those under five years old as there is a special formulation for them.)

“Sa ngayon, sapat ang ating bakuna, ang importante ay maiturok siya,” she added.

(Right now, we have enough vaccines. What's important is to administer them to the people.)

At least 70 million individuals are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the country. 

However, booster uptake remains a challenge, with only 14.8 million Filipinos receiving their first booster dose and at least 648,000 for their second booster dose. —VBL, GMA News