Galvez: Pfizer, AstraZeneca vaccines under COVAX expected to arrive in May

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 6) — The government is expecting to receive COVID-19 vaccine supply from the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility this month, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. announced Wednesday.

Maganda po iyong magiging volumes po natin this coming May dahil iyong COVAX (facility) baka makapag-deliver na po ng Pfizer at tsaka ng AstraZeneca,” Galvez said during a televised Cabinet meeting.

[Translation: Our volumes in May will be good because the COVAX facility might be able to deliver Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.]

He noted that 1 to 2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine may be delivered, but no definite date has been set yet. This is an assurance that those who already received their first dose of the said coronavirus shot will have their second dose, he emphasized.

Earlier in March, over 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca from the COVAX facility were delivered to the country. All of these were used as a first vaccine dose given the urgency to vaccinate more individuals in Metro Manila, the epicenter of the local coronavirus outbreak.

The second batch of AstraZeneca doses which were supposed to arrive between March 24 and 26, were delayed due to global supply shortage.

As for the delivery of Pfizer vaccines, Galvez said the company gave the assurance that that 1.3 million doses will arrive in May. Some 193,000 doses are scheduled on May 11 for the initial rollout.

These will be allocated to NCR Plus, as well as in Cebu and Davao where direct deliveries will be done, he said. Preparations are now underway to prevent vaccine wastage given the sensitivity of COVID-19 shots that require ultra-low temperature freezers, he added.

With this development, Galvez said total vaccine arrival in May alone is seen to reach around 7 million from the 4 million previously projected.

To date, the government has received over 4 million doses, most of which are China’s Sinovac vaccine. Over 2 million of these were already administered since the start of the rollout in March.

The government targets to immunize up to 70 million individuals by the end of the year to achieve herd immunity.