– The Philippines has reached a milestone in its coronavirus response after hitting over 100 million in total vaccine doses secured since the first shipment of jabs started arriving in February.
On Thursday night, some 976,950 doses of government-procured Pfizer vaccine arrived in Manila via an Air Hongkong flight, raising to 100,528,240 the number of delivered life-saving shots to the country.
Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., who welcomed the latest vaccine delivery, said this achievement is "not only a product of a nation's people working together but is also a testament of the strong cooperation and will among international partners and stakeholders."
The official extended the country's gratitude to the vaccine-makers, partner organizations, donor countries, the World Health Organization, the COVAX Facility, and all sectors across the country for supporting government efforts to scale up the Philippines' vaccine supply.
Galvez said about 30 million of the cumulative tally was donated by several nations, including Japan, China, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, France, United Arab Emirates, Brunei, and Germany.
Around 50 million more doses are expected to arrive before the end of 2021, including another 10 million through the COVAX Facility.
At the same event, US Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Heather Variava announced the delivery of two million more donated doses of Pfizer to Manila next week.
"Only by working together with our partner countries around the world can we overcome the pandemic and so we're very proud to partner with the Philippines, which is an ally, friend, and partner for decades," she said. "It only makes sense that we should work together with our friends in the Philippines to help build their capacity to fight Covid."
No wasted vaccines
With the steady supply of vaccines, Galvez assured the continuous deployment of shots to the different regions.
The country's vaccine stockpile is currently at around 38 million doses, of which eight million are stored in national warehouses while 30 million "have been deployed already" to provincial, regional and municipal storage facilities, Galvez said.
Galvez expected this number to further decrease to at least 20 million by November, noting that these shots are "already for administration" in different areas.
"Rest assured that our logistics people can take care of that and we will make sure that there will be no spoilage," he said.
"The president is very emphatic in saying that he wanted that there will be no wastage considering that previously our problem is the supply. Now his directive for us is to make sure that the vaccine will not be wasted because he considers vaccine as precious as gold," he added.
The official likewise said the only near-expiry jabs the Philippines have are the remaining 200,000 doses of Moderna (November 30) and another 4,000 of AstraZeneca shots (October 31) in Region 3.
"We are on it, the 4,000 is being inoculated as a second dose so we don't have a worry that we will be having a wastage," Galvez said.