MANILA – A total of 362,700 doses of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine arrived in the country Wednesday night, as more life-saving shots are expected to be delivered in the coming weeks that would ensure stable supply until yearend.
Air Hongkong flight LD456 carried some 262,080 doses, which were then transported to the PharmaServ Express cold-chain storage facility in Marikina City.
Some 50,310 doses were directly unloaded in Cebu City around 5 p.m. on the same day. The same number of doses will be delivered in Davao City Thursday.
Assistant Secretary Wilben Mayor, head of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) sub-task force on current operations, said the country's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now in talks with Pfizer-BioNTech about its application for the full approval for their Covid-19 vaccine.
"Actually FDA has already coordinated with Pfizer [company] for the submission of the necessary documents for that purpose," he told reporters at the airport.
The United States FDA granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine for people 16 and older on Aug. 23, the first for a Covid-19 shot.
Mayor said the latest Pfizer vaccine would be deployed in Covid-19 high-risk and vulnerable areas such as the National Capital Region and Region 4-A (Calabarzon) under the vaccination program's "focus and expand" strategy.
"Though meron na tayong ngayong tinatawag na from the spot, nagkakaroon agad ng inoculation. Dinadala na agad doon sa area and pagdating doon ini-inject na kaagad (Though, we now have the so-called from-the-spot inoculation strategy. We deploy the vaccine in the area and administer it immediately)," Mayor said.
The deployment of the highly sensitive vaccine, he added, will depend on the handling capacity of the local government units since it requires a temperature of -80°C to -60°C prior to dilution.
"But, again, we leave it to the Vaccine Cluster to decide on whether to which particular area that they will distribute or allocate this Pfizer vaccine," he said.
The Philippines has a total of 2,472,210 doses of Pfizer vaccine procured by the government and 2,479,239 doses acquired through the COVAX Facility.
The latest shipment brings the country's total number of Covid-19 vaccines to 48,885,590 doses. (PNA)