PH to receive COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX in Q1

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 20) — The Philippines is set to receive COVID-19 vaccines in the first quarter of 2021 after the approval of its participation in the global COVAX facility, the Department of Health announced on Wednesday.

The facility is an initiative by the World Health Organization, along with the vaccine alliance Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. It seeks to provide over 150 participating countries equitable access to coronavirus vaccines.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. previously appealed to COVAX to include the Philippines among countries to be given early access to vaccine doses. With this latest development, the country could receive vaccines from US firm Pfizer as early as February.

Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said this means the Philippines can receive subsidized coronavirus vaccines from COVAX that will be enough for 20% of the country's population, but that will not be the amount of initial delivery.

"They have committed to provide us with 20% of our need for the population. But as initial, they might be providing the first 3% only. So this COVAX facility has committed that they might be able to provide us with vaccine this first quarter of the year," she told CNN Philippines on Thursday.

The national government is expected to secure145 million COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers by the end of January.

The country has so far cinched deals with India's Covovax, China's Sinovac, and the UK's AstraZeneca.

The Food and Drug Administration recently granted Emergency Use Authorization to the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Pfizer.