PH expects vaccines from Sinovac, Gamaleya starting next week

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 6) — The Philippine government is expecting to receive over 1.5 million doses from Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech and 500,000 doses from Russia's Gamaleya Research Institute this month, with possible shipments as early as next week, Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said Tuesday.

Galvez told a Palace briefing at least 500,000 of the 1.5 million CoronaVac doses from Sinovac may arrive sometime next week, while Gamaleya's Sputnik V doses are seen to arrive on April 12.

He did not state whether the promised 500,000 Gamaleya shots for the month will be delivered in full next week, but more doses from the vaccine brand are seen in the succeeding months.

"Next week po baka dumating na ang 500,000 ng Sinovac so titingnan din natin ang Gamaleya, baka dumating din this coming April 12," he said.

[Translation: Next week, 500,000 doses will come from Sinovac and we are looking at the arrival of Gamaleya doses this coming April 12.]

Overall, the Philippines will likely receive two million doses from these vaccine brands within the month. The delayed batch of AstraZeneca doses via the World Health Organization-backed COVAX facility was not included in the list.

WHO Country Representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe on Monday said the expected supply of over 900,000 AstraZeneca doses may be reduced until vaccine production can accommodate the demand from other countries. The second batch of doses was supposed to arrive between March 24 and 26.

READ: WHO: Next batch of vaccines via COVAX may be further reduced due to supply shortage 

Galvez said despite the "very constricted" AstraZeneca supply they are still holding negotiations with vaccine manufacturers abroad to accommodate the Philippines' needs. Over 525,600 doses from the British-Swedish drugmaker were already distributed to the country last month.

"With the global constriction ng AstraZeneca, most probably magkakaroon po talaga ng reduction but hopefully ang mga nakausap ng DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs), ni Sec. (Teodoro) Locsin, especially yung sa Europe at US, hopefully, magkaroon ng fruition ang aming negotiations," he said.

[Translation: With the global constriction of AstraZeneca, most probably there will be a reduction but hopefully, with the dialogue of the DFA, of Secretary Locsin with Europe and the US, our negotiations would come to fruition.]

Galvez said 825,662 Filipinos have already been vaccinated against COVID-19. Ramped up deliveries of vaccine doses at 20 million per month will start by August from different brands.