MANILA – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday welcomed the arrival of 1 million doses of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine purchased by the Philippine government from Chinese biopharmaceutical company, Sinovac Biotech.
The first batch of the government-procured 25 million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine arrived at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City on board an “all-cargo charter” Philippine Airlines flight PR361 from Beijing.
“Ito na pinaka-unang order natin and may susunod pa tayo na dadating this coming April. Meron pa po tayong order na 1.5 million sa Sinovac (This is our very first order and there will be more this coming April. We have an order of 1.5 million from Sinovac),” said Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., who joined the President in an interview with PTV.
Galvez, also chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19, said that aside from 1.5 million doses in April, 2 million doses will arrive in May, 4.5 million doses in June, and more every month until the country receives a total of 25 million doses from Sinovac by December.
“Magkakaroon po tayo ng increment na at least 3 million a month (We will have an increment of at least 3 million a month),” Galvez said.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said the procurement of the vaccines is a “highlight of the anti-epidemic cooperation between China and the Philippines.”
“Despite the increasing domestic need and the limited supply of vaccines, China has not only taken the lead in donating vaccines to the Philippines but also prioritized and facilitated the latter’s vaccine procurement from China,” Huang said in a statement.
During the arrival, Duterte was presented with two vials of the vaccine in a brief ceremony.
He was also accompanied by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
Two 10-wheeler trucks will transport the vaccines to a cold-storage facility before its distribution.
The arrival of the vaccine doses is expected to support the government’s Covid-19 vaccination program and its accelerated rollout through the simultaneous vaccination of priority groups A1 to A3—workers in frontline health services, all senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities.
To date, a total of 2 million doses of the CoronaVac vaccine has arrived in the country.
The country’s first batch of 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine donated by Chinese government arrived on Feb. 28 and another 400,000 vials also given by China on March 24. (PNA)