MANILA – The Philippines on Monday night received 1,526,400 doses of the single-shot Janssen Covid-19 vaccine donated by the Netherlands, bringing to over 158 million the total vaccine doses the country received since February this year.
National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 head of sub-task force in current operations Assistant Secretary Wilben Mayor said the latest shipment is part of the 7.5 million doses donation the Netherlands is sending to the Philippines, through the COVAX Facility.
"The 1.5 million doses of Janssen vaccine is very timely, especially on the campaign of the government on this coming national vaccination day," he said. "This [7.5 million] is the biggest donation actually from one country to the Philippines."
A single-shot vaccine such as Janssen provides for a faster rollout, simplifying the logistics of mass vaccination.
As such, the bulk of the newly delivered vaccine will be deployed to island provinces of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) -- as previously promised by the NTF to address vaccine hesitancy in the region, Mayor added.
A portion of it will be distributed to other regions and provinces that have a cold-chain storage facility for highly sensitive jabs that require sub-zero temperature and in areas with a large number of unvaccinated senior citizens.
The latest shipment was also welcomed by Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Carolina Vidal-Taiño, Ambassador of The Netherlands Saskia de Lang, UNICEF Representative to the Philippines Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov, EU Ambassador Luc Veron upon its arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay City.
Saskia said the Dutch government committed to actively contribute to the efforts of the COVAX Facility in providing more than a hundred million Covid-19 vaccines to developing countries.
"My country, The Netherlands, is pleased to contribute to the vaccination efforts to the Philippines. We are doing this by providing Janssen vaccines that require only one jab and therefore, it would be very handy to be used in remote places particularly in the BARMM areas," De Lang said.
The Dutch government has donated more than 27 million doses to the COVAX Facility, of which 7.5 million doses will go to the Philippines that will be delivered in tranches until Wednesday.
Latest NTF data show that the Philippines has so far received 158,604,520 doses of Covid-19 vaccines since the life-saving shots started arriving in February. (PNA)