More bivalent Covid-19 vaccine doses expected by yearend

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

September 5, 2023, 7:34 pm

<p><em>(PNA photo by Joan Bondoc)</em></p>

(PNA photo by Joan Bondoc)

MANILA – The country is expecting to receive donations of bivalent vaccine doses against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) from the COVAX Facility by the end of this year or early next year. 

COVAX Facility is a worldwide initiative which aims to provide equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.

Department of Health Undersecretary Enrique Tayag on Tuesday said 1.5 to 2 million doses of bivalent Covid-19 vaccine are needed to further protect the healthcare workers and senior citizens nationwide.

"So, inaasahan namin, na kung iyan ay magaganap, sa katapusan ng taon o sa mga unang buwang ng 2024 (So, we're expecting, if it will happen, by the end of this year or first months of 2024)," he said in a media forum.

"Kung dumating, ganun pa rin ang magiging pakiusap ng aming Kalihim, na magamit iyan sa lalong mabilis na panahon (When the vaccines arrive, our Secretary will have the same request, that they will be administered immediately)," he added. 

On Monday, DOH Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said about 94 percent of the 390,000 doses of the bivalent vaccine donated by the Lithuanian have been administered.

They were given as booster doses for healthcare workers, senior citizens and the immunocompromised starting June 21.

Last June, the DOH said around 1.002 million doses of Pfizer's bivalent jabs from the COVAX Facility would arrive in March.

Since the declaration of a state of calamity due to Covid-19 ended, clauses on indemnification and immunity from liability found in the agreements with the donating countries and/or manufacturers remain key impediments to the delivery of the donated bivalent vaccine. 

When asked whether Pfizer bivalent jabs are already available in the market, Tayag said the DOH have not received any information on its arrival in the country and individuals who want to buy would still need a physician's prescription for it. (PNA)