IATF hopes Pfizer vaccines will arrive this February, says delivery may coincide with Sinovac shipment

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 15)— Despite a “little delay” in delivery, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Monday expressed hope that the much-awaited doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines would still arrive in the Philippines this month.

Speaking to CNN Philippines, IATF co-chair and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the country is finalizing details of the indemnity agreement with the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility, which will be supplying the initial 117,000 doses.

WHO Country Representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe earlier explained that manufacturers require indemnification funds "for their own safety" since not all vaccines have been approved for the market.

RELATED: Indemnification vital to ensure more vaccine supply, generate demand – Galvez

“Basically there’s just that detail of an indemnity agreement that was supposed to be finalized and which is in the process of being finalized, so that’s a little delay there as far as the Pfizer shipment is concerned from WHO,” Nograles told The Source. “But we’ll still get it – hopefully within the month.”

Government officials, citing conversations with COVAX, earlier announced that the indicative date of the Pfizer vaccines’ arrival would fall in the middle of February. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque had said the government was “ready” to start the inoculation drive once the products arrive.

Meanwhile, Nograles also raised the possibility that the delivery of the vaccines from COVAX may coincide with, or come later than, the arrival of China’s Sinovac vaccine shipment which is slated around Feb. 23.

Baka maunahan pa sila ng Sinovac. Let’s see. We’re still following up on them,” the official said. “So if it will be delayed by one week, then halos baka kasabay na niya ‘yung Sinovac pagdating.”

[Translation: Maybe the Sinovac vaccine will come first. Let’s see. We’re still following up on them. So if it will be delayed by one week, then maybe it will arrive at the same time as Sinovac.]

China is set to provide some 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines to the Philippines, officials said. However, the product has yet to receive an emergency use authorization from the country's Food and Drug Administration.