PH Covid vaccination kicks off March 1

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FILE PHOTO: A healthcare worker holds a vial of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine at the Pentland Medical Practice in Currie, Scotland, Britain, January 7, 2021. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne/Pool/File Photo

With the arrival of over 1 million doses of vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the next two days beginning Sunday, the Philippines will formally begin its rollout of the vaccination program on Monday (March 1).

“With the arrival of vaccines from Sinovac and AstraZeneca on Sunday and Monday, respectively, the country’s vaccine rollout formally starts,” vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Saturday night.

The country’s first 600,000 doses of vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech and donated by Chinese government are set to arrive late Sunday afternoon.

On Monday, a total of 525,600 doses of Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca will arrive through the World Health Organization-led COVAX Facility, a global sharing mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable access for Covid-19 jabs.

Galvez said the healthcare workers and other medical frontliners will still be prioritized in the vaccination program.

He said the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already granted Emergency Use Utilization (EUA) to the pharmaceutical firms Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Sinovac.

“This is a proof that all vaccines which will be administered to our fellow citizens are safe and effective,” he said in Filipino.

Galvez, also National Policy Against Covid-19 chief implementer, reiterated his appeal to the public to sign up for the Covid-19 vaccination program.

He said the government will continue to negotiate with other vaccine manufacturers to ensure the acquisition of 148 million Covid-19 jabs.

The government targets to inoculate around 70 million Filipinos this year.

Galvez said he is confident that the government will be able to hasten the vaccine procurement and speed up the delivery following the signing of Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021.

On Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the Vaccination Program Act of 2021 that would expedite the rollout of the country’s rollout of Covid-19 inoculation plan.

Under the measure, the government will be setting aside a P500 million indemnity fund to assist individuals who will experience the adverse effects of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“With the passage of this landmark law which provides flexibility and indemnity in the procurement and administration of the vaccines, we shall be able to accelerate the implementation of our national vaccination program and finally put an end to this health crisis and revive our nation’s economy,” Galvez said.

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