NEW DONATIONS. Customs personnel inspect the shipment of 3,436,290 doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine that arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 via a Silkway Airlines flight on Thursday night (Feb. 10, 2022). The jabs were donated by the United States government through the COVAX Facility. (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – More than four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) arrived in two tranches at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Thursday night.

First to land at Terminal 3 was the Air Hong Kong flight carrying 780,000 doses intended for the vaccination of minors aged five years to 11 years, procured by the government through the World Bank.

About two hours later, 3,436,290 doses donated by the United States government through the COVAX Facility arrived at Terminal 2 via Silkway Airlines.

National Task Force Against (NTF) Covid-19 chief implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.; United States Agency for International Development Health Director Michelle Lang-Alli; NTF special adviser Dr. Teodoro Herbosa; and Department of Health Undersecretary Ma. Carolina Vidal-Taiño welcomed the twin deliveries.

"This is so important for the kids in the Philippines so they can go back to school, enjoy sports, enjoy cultural events, and be happy, normal kids again," Lang-Alli said in an interview.

The Pfizer vaccine, with a lower dose, is the only brand that has been approved for the five- to 11-year-old category.

According to the National Vaccination Operations Center, a total of 26,363 children nationwide in the youngest age group have been administered the first dose in 40 sites as of February 9, or two days after inoculation started.

In an earlier statement, Galvez said the national government may need to impose a “strong mandate” on vaccination in the future once the majority of children are vaccinated and the country already has a bigger supply inventory of the Covid-19 jabs.

“Step by step kasi sa ngayon. Konti pa lang ang nababakunahan and we cannot mandate them na talagang lahat bakunado (We do it step by step by now. Only a few have been vaccinated for now and we cannot mandate yet that everyone should be vaccinated),” he said. (PNA)