PH to get around 7M COVID-19 vaccines this month; 2M AstraZeneca shipment expected on Saturday

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 7)— The Philippines is expecting the arrival of at least seven million COVID-19 vaccine doses this month, Malacañang said on Friday.

"Nagagalak po ako na itong buwan ng Mayo ay hindi po bababa sa pitong milyon ang darating na bakuna," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised announcement.

[Translation: We're happy because this month of May, there will be at least seven million vaccines arriving in the country.]

Earlier in the day, the country received a bulk shipment of 1.5 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine. This is the seventh batch of vaccine deliveries from the Chinese manufacturer.

Apart from this, Roque confirmed the government is also expecting the arrival this Saturday of two million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by British-Swedish AstraZeneca.

This particular shipment will be the third batch of vaccines coming from the COVAX facility — a global initiative led by the World Health Organization, vaccine alliance Gavi, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations that seeks member countries' equitable access to the vaccines.

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

Early last month, Health authorities issued an order to suspend the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine after European drug regulators found a link between the coronavirus shot and a few cases of unusual blood clots with low platelet count.

The Department of Health then announced on April 19 that it has approved the Food and Drug Administration's recommendation to lift the order.

In its latest statement, the DOH explained the Vaccine-Induced Thrombosis and Thrombocytopenia (VITT) "is a very rare condition of blood clots associated with low platelet counts that can occur 4 to 28 days after receiving a viral vector vaccine such as AstraZeneca."

It further emphasized there are no known risk factors for the condition and the benefits of receiving the coronavirus shot still outweigh the risks.

The department also issued updated guidelines in the management of side effects after inoculation. These include strengthened post-vaccination surveillance in all implementing sites to spot possible adverse events following immunization, and training of on-site health workers on the detection and handling of possible symptoms of VITT and refer these cases to the appropriate facility.

The government needs to inoculate at least 70 million Filipinos to achieve herd immunity. Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said the government targets to administer enough shots to achieve herd immunity in Metro Manila and nearby provinces by November.