The government will procure 1 million doses of CoronaVac, produced by China’s Sinovac Biotech pharmaceutical company, this March, National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Monday.
Galvez, who is also the country’s vaccine czar, said there is an “acute shortage” in the global supplies of CoronaVac.
“That’s why in all the Asean nations and even Muslim nations, we see that only Sinovac and Sputnik V vaccines are available,” he said in an interview with reporters at the Philippine General Hospital where he got his first dose.
The country is also set to receive some 3.5 million doses of CoronaVac from the COVAX Facility.
Based on the vaccine deployment schedule, Galvez said 5.1 million doses of CoronaVac may arrive within the first quarter of this year. Another 26 million doses may be delivered by the second quarter.
“The main bulk of our vaccines will be coming within the third quarter and fourth quarter so more or less we could have 50 to 60 million [doses] each quarter,” he said.
Following the arrival of the 600,000 doses of Sinovac jabs on Sunday, the Philippines began simultaneous vaccination drives on Monday morning at various hospitals in Metro Manila, including the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), Veterans Memorial Medical Center, Lung Center of the Philippines and V. Luna General Hospital.
Galvez also received his first shot as he reiterated that the government will employ a stringent regulatory process to ensure the efficacy and safety of the vaccines.