COVAX completes delivery of AstraZeneca vaccines for PH

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 7) — The second batch of AstraZeneca vaccines arrived in the country Sunday night, completing the 525,000 doses supplied by the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility.

This shipment is made up of 38,400 doses, the balance from the initial 487,200 doses that arrived on March 4.

Officials led by National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. and Testing Czar Vince Dizon were at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to welcome the commercial flight carrying the vaccines.

The COVAX facility is a global initiative that seeks to ensure nations' equitable access to coronavirus vaccines. The particular batch was developed in South Korea and donated by European nations.

READ: PH receives nearly half a million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines

Prior to the AstraZeneca vaccines, the country also received a donation of 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines on February 28, with the government vaccination program kicking off the next day. Philippine General Hospital Director Dr. Gerardo "Gap" Legaspi was the first to be inoculated with the vaccine.

Despite these developments, vaccine czar Galvez earlier said the country needed more vaccines to combat COVID-19, noting that the vaccines the country has so far are only around 30% of what is needed to inoculate more than 1.7 million health care workers alone.

READ: Duterte wants simultaneous rollout of Sinovac, AstraZeneca vaccines to give health workers a choice official 

Galvez said over 300,000 doses from China's Sinovac vaccine were already deployed to over 100 hospitals, almost a week after the donation arrived in the country. He added that around 1.6 million doses purchased from Sinovac Biotech will likely be shipped within this month.

The Philippines is also set to receive 4.5 million more doses of AstraZeneca vaccines until May and 117,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines possibly more through the COVAX initiative.