The Philippines will receive 495,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccine from Russia within the next two days, a senior health official has said.
An initial batch of 15,000 doses is scheduled to arrive Wednesday, while another 480,000 doses will reach on Thursday.
According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the first tranche of the doses will be used in simulation activity at four local government units to cover the handling, transportation, storage and administration of vaccines.
Vergeire explained the simulation must be carried out because the Sputnik V vaccine has different storage requirements compared to those by Sinovac and Oxford-AstraZeneca.
Carlito Galvez Jr., head of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, said 500,000 more doses of China’s CoronaVac vaccine will also arrive on April 29.
The Southeast Asian country, which began its vaccination drive on Feb. 28, has secured a total of 25 million doses of CoronaVac vaccine.
To date, it has signed supply agreements with five manufacturers — AstraZeneca, Gamaleya, Moderna, Novavax, and Sinovac.
“We are expecting to receive more or less 140 million doses by the end of this year, excluding the 44 million doses from the COVAX facility,” Galvez said.
Five of the seven vaccine manufacturers the Philippines seeks to procure vaccines from have already been issued an Emergency Use Authorization by the Food and Drug Administration. These companies are Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, J&J, and Gamaleya.
Over 1.5 million Filipinos have been vaccinated. So far, healthcare workers, senior citizens, and persons with co-morbidities have received their anti-COVID-19 jabs.
“By June, we can open vaccination for our productive population, with the government and economic frontliners, as well as the indigent population, categorized as A4 and A5. By August, when supply is aplenty, we will open the vaccination to the general public,” Galvez said.
With 7,204 new COVID-19 cases and 63 related deaths, the overall case tally has reached 1.01 million and 16,916 deaths.
*Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita