VAX DOSES FROM BRUNEI. Special Advisor to the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) Dr. Teodoro “Ted” Herbosa (right) and NTF Against Covid-19 medical consultant Dr. Maria Paz Corrales (left) speak to the media during the arrival of AstraZeneca vaccine from Brunei at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 on Wednesday (Oct. 20, 2021). Herbosa said the 2,000 doses are just a portion of the 20,000 vaccines expected to be donated by Brunei government. (Photo by Raymond Carl Dela Cruz)

MANILA – A portion of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine donated by the government of Brunei Darussalam arrived in the country on Wednesday, with additional shipment expected to be delivered “soon.”

Special Advisor to the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) Teodoro “Ted” Herbosa welcomed the arrival of 2,000 out of the 20,000 doses to be donated by Brunei at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.

“This is just a portion of another donation that is coming soon as well,” Herbosa said.

He said the AstraZeneca vaccines will be administered to the general population, excluding minors since only Pfizer and Moderna have been given emergency use authorization (EUA) for 12 to 17 years old recipients.

Herbosa said about two million doses of Pfizer vaccine are set to arrive on Thursday and Friday.

To date, he said a total of 92.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been delivered to the Philippines, with 32 percent of the Filipino population—or about 24 million Filipinos—fully vaccinated and 28 million received their first dose.

“Ang Metro Manila maganda na ang figures (Metro Manila has good figures) --80 percent are fully vaccinated and 90 percent have at least one dose,” Herbosa said.

He noted that the supply of Covid-19 vaccines is no longer an issue as more and more are expected to arrive in the coming months.

“Ang ating problem ngayon (What our problem now) is making sure that the vaccines go to the different areas, the general population, the children, and of course in areas na medyo malalayo na (that are far away). We have some challenges with storage kasi nga cold storage kailangan nito (because this needs cold storage),” Herbosa said.

He said Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr. is eyeing to ramp up vaccination from the current 500,000 doses to 1.5 million doses per day.

Yan ang tinututukan ng ating vaccine czar, kung paano mapapabilis pa ang vaccine administration sa lahat ng Filipino (That’s the focus of our vaccine czar, how to accelerate vaccine administration to all Filipinos),” Herbosa said.

The Philippines, he said, has received the most vaccine doses from the United States government, followed by donations from the People’s Republic of China, and Japan that is eyeing to donate more AstraZeneca doses. (PNA)