Sputnik V (Photo courtesy of sputnikvaccine.com)

MANILA – The Philippines is expected to receive about 20 million doses of coronavirus vaccines developed by Russia's Gamaleya Research Institute within 2021, Philippine Ambassador in Moscow Carlos Sorreta said Tuesday.

In the next few days, Sorreta said the first 20,000 vials will be delivered followed by at least half a million doses before the end of April or early May 2021.

"Over the next few months, we're going seven figures or about 20 million doses before the end of the year," he said in a virtual briefing.

While the demand for Sputnik V vaccines outside Russia is "very high", Sorreta is optimistic Gamaleya would be able to deliver the number of doses that the Philippines needs.

He said the Philippine Embassy in Moscow is also monitoring the vaccine production and has been engaging with different firms tapped to produce the shots in Russia.

"The production, from our indication, will meet the very high demand. They're also looking at supplying western Europe, which also has made potentially large demand but overall, I think we're pretty much safe and our vaccine requirements. Of course, we have to manage our expectations, there could be problems with production, many things could come up," he said.

Meanwhile, he explained that the initial 20,000 will be used to "fine-tune logistics on our end".

According to Russian News Agency TASS, Sputnik V may be stored at two to eight degrees centigrade for two months but developers are hoping to extend this for up to six months. (PNA)