MANILA – The country's vaccination drive against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) got another boost with the arrival of the first shipment of Moderna vaccines.
A total of 249,600 doses of the American-made jabs arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 via Singapore Airlines Flight SQ918 on Sunday evening.
"This is very significant as we now have five brands of vaccines in the country. It can create a lot of confidence because globally, this is the 2nd (most used) vaccine by many countries. As what I have said earlier, the side effects of this vaccine are very rare, very negligible and most of the countries agreed that they are very comfortable with using Moderna vaccines," National Task Force against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. told reporters in an interview.
The vaccines currently being used by the Philippines in its fight against Covid-19 are Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Sputnik V.
Of these initial doses, 150,000 doses were procured by the Philippine government, while 99,600 doses were purchased by the private sector, led by the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), Galvez said.
“We will study the deployment of these vaccines because this is our first time handling Moderna. The majority of the vaccines will be deployed in the National Capital Region and later, we will give other urban centers and areas. The priority sectors for deployment are A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with comorbidities but we have committed a bulk of these vaccines to OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) and the seafarers and government front-liners,” Galvez explained.
The Philippines has inked a supply agreement for 20 million doses of Moderna vaccines which will be delivered in staggered batches in the coming months.
Of this number, 13 million doses were procured by the government while the remaining 7 million doses were purchased by the private sector for their workers.
Galvez also announced that the government inoculated around 10 million Filipinos.
On Monday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III administered the country's 10 millionth Covid-19 vaccine to Nieves Catacutan, who belongs to the A5 group (indigents), at the Valenzuela City Astrodome Mega Vaccination Hub.
Galvez was accompanied by Christian Martin Gonzalez, executive vice president of ICTSI, David Gamble Jr., economic counselor of the US Embassy in the Philippines, officials of Zuellig Pharma, and Department of Health Undersecretary Carol Tanio.
“Essential services, so they will be prioritized. If the doses will be released to us tomorrow, we will start tomorrow (Monday) afternoon. All the companies will be given a pro rata share of their orders. We obviously want to start with ITCSI and all the other big ones because they will have a significant amount of pro-rata share. Every single company will have a share of this batch and we will start with the vaccination as soon as possible,” Gonzalez told reporters in a chance interview. (PNA)