By Deighton Acuin and Archie Villaflores


Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Friday thumbed down the recommendation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to recall the COVID-19 vaccines delivered in the provinces with a low number of infections and send them back to areas with surges, particularly in Metro Manila.

Galvez made the rejection after Duque ordered the recall of vaccines in areas with low cases to ensure steady vaccine supplies in areas with a surging caseload.

Galvez said that instead of redeployment, he will propose to Duque the arriving COVID-19 jab supplies this month and April will be allocated in areas with a high number of cases which includes Cebu, Davao, and Metro Manila.

“We have an equitable allocation [of vaccines] in different hospitals. We will talk to Secretary Duque about the planned redeployment back to Manila will not be [possible] because we will have a double handling,” said Galvez.

If all things go according to the plan, the vaccine czar said the country is expecting to receive shipments containing 2,379,200 vaccine doses this month or early April.

A total of 400,000 donated CoronaVac vaccines from China’s Sinovac Biotech will arrive on March 24 while another one million doses of the same brand that were bought by the government will be shipped on March 29.

Further, 979,200 doses of vaccines from British-Swede drugmaker AstraZeneca are also set to be delivered on March 22.

“Our recommendation is, just in case we tend to deploy more vaccines in Metro Manila, we will use the reserved supply of AstraZeneca and the arriving 1.4 million [Sinovac vaccines] this March,” Galvez said.

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