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Vergeire: One country to donate 300K of COVID-19 bivalent vaccines to Philippines

One country will be donating more than 300,000 doses of the COVID-19 bivalent vaccines to the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.

DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire, however, did not yet identify the expected donor country as “ agreements are being finalized.”

These additional 300,000 doses of the second-generation vaccines targeted against the Omicron variant will be on top of the 1,002,000 doses that the COVAX facility has committed to donate to the Philippines.

“In all, sa ngayon, meron na tayong concrete na plano para [right now, we already have concrete plans for the] almost 1.4 million doses of bivalent. Guidelines will be issued soon so that our local governments can prepare already,” Vergeire said at a press conference.

The first batch of the donated bivalent vaccines is expected to arrive by the end of March.

The priority for this batch will be healthcare workers, senior citizens, and people with comorbidities, according to DOH.

There are 73.8 million Filipinos who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at present, while 21.3 million have received their booster shots.

On Monday, Vergeire appealed to the private sector not to procure additional doses of the bivalent vaccines yet to avoid further vaccine wastage. She said around 24 million doses have expired so far.

She also said around 26 million COVID-19 vaccines remain unused. Of which, around 16 million doses are in the national warehouse, while 10 million have been distributed to various local government units. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News