The initial batch of government-procured Sputnik V vaccines from Russia was finally shipped from Moscow and would be arriving in Manila on May 1, Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta reported Thursday night.
Sorreta said a total of 15,000 doses were sent from Russia on April 29, with “more to come” in the next weeks and months.
“Great working with the DOH (Department of Health), DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs), Special Envoy for Russia, and the other members of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) to make this happen. Thank you to President (Vladimir) Putin, Foreign Minister (Sergey) Lavrov and Foreign Ministry officials, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, and the Gamaleya Institute for their cooperation, patience, and understanding. Thank you too to our hardworking Philippine Embassy Team,” he said on his social media account.
The delivery was supposed to arrive last April 28 but was postponed due to a lack of direct flight from Moscow to Manila.
The cold storage requirements also made it hard to transport the Russian vaccines since they must be stored with a temperature not exceeding -18 degrees Celsius.
Participating in the initial Sputnik V rollout are cities that meet this storage requirement such as Manila, Taguig, Makati, Parañaque, and Muntinlupa. Each city will receive an initial 3,000 doses each for the simulation activity.
Sorreta earlier said a total of 500,000 doses will be delivered within May and eventually about 20 million doses before the year ends.
He said Gamaleya Research Institute is keen on manufacturing the shots locally by partnering with the private sector.
Sputnik V is the world’s first registered vaccine, with 91.6- percent efficacy against coronavirus disease 2019 as validated by internationally peer-reviewed data published in the medical journal The Lancet.