1st batch of bivalent jabs expected in May: DOH

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

May 2, 2023, 5:32 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) is expecting 390,000 doses of bivalent coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines to arrive in the country by the end of this month.

In a media forum on Tuesday, DOH officer in charge Maria Rosario Vergeire reported that they have acquired the emergency use authorization and other requirements from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Ang atin na lamang pong ginagawa ay nagfa-finalize ng mga dokumento (We’re just finalizing the documents). Hopefully by the end of May, we can be able to receive these 390,000 doses,” she said.

The DOH has yet to disclose the name of the donor country and the brand of bivalent vaccines to be donated.

’Yung sa COVAX hindi pa tayo nagkakaroon ng final agreements because ‘yung unang batch na dapat ide-deliver sa atin ay medyo naantala kaya naibigay muna nila sa ibang bansa (We don’t have final agreements with COVAX because the first batch, which should’ve been delivered to us got delayed and was given to another country) but they have committed that once we're already ready with our basis legally we can still be given (vaccines),” Vergeire said.

Earlier, the DOH said the 1,002,000 million doses of Pfizer's bivalent jabs from the COVAX Facility would arrive in March.

Clauses on indemnification and immunity from liability found in the agreements with the donating countries and/or manufacturers remain the main impediments to the delivery of the donated bivalent Covid-19 vaccines.

As for the country donating the 390,000 doses of bivalent jabs, Vergeire said they have agreed to make changes in the clauses in the agreement.

“We discussed with the government of this country, at sila ay pumayag naman. Nahikayat ‘yung manufacturer na pumayag na we're not having this immunity, parang general kasi ‘yung statement parang (and they agreed, the manufacturer was encouraged to agree that we’re not having this immunity, because the statement seems general that) we're giving up on our sovereign rights,” she said. “So, pumayag sila, nabago ‘yung clause so nakapag-proceed tayo (So, they agreed, the clause was changed, so we were able to proceed).”

As of March 20, more than 78.4 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated, including 7.2 million senior citizens, 10.2 million adolescents, and 5.6 million children.

More than 23.8 million individuals have received their first booster dose and almost 4.4 million have received their second booster shots. (PNA)