AstraZeneca, Pfizer COVID jabs expected to arrive in PH in May

By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: RTVM

Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Wednesday the World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVAX Facility is expected to deliver COVID-19 vaccines developed by British drugmaker AstraZeneca and United States firm Pfizer-BioNTech in May.

Galvez said the initial batch of 193,000 Pfizer jabs would arrive on May 11 due to its temperature requirement, and that the government is expected to receive 1.3 million doses for this month.

"Maganda po ang volumes this coming May dahil may positive na nangyari na yung COVAX baka makapagdeliver ng Pfizer at Astrazeneca," Galvez said in a Cabinet briefing presided by President Rodrigo Duterte.

"'Yung second dose wala na po tayong problema. May makukuha tayong more or less na two million AstraZeneca," Galvez added.

‘Not be picky’

Meanwhile, Galvez said in the same meeting that some 20% to 30% healthcare workers were not yet vaccinated because of waiting for the vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna.

Duterte ordered Galvez to assign the vaccines to areas without regard of which brands is expected to arrive.

The President also told Filipinos not to be choosy because the move was “discriminatory.”

"May problema tayo diyan. If you look at it, tignan mo talaga, silipin. Discriminatory," Duterte said.

"Kaya ang akin... kung ano nandiyan, pagdating doon, kung ano maibigay na carton mo mapa- Sinovac, Sputnik, 'yun na 'yun para sa inyo," he added.

"Nobody should, iyo yan. I put to task ikaw (Galvez) mismo, just keep a blind eye, ito kunin ninyo, for Sta. Ana, for Bulacan. Huwag mo na tignan kung ano, because there will be a lot of complaints.”

Furthermore, Galvez stood firm on Duterte’s order, citing Filipinos’ preference of Western vaccine brands.

"Karamihan sa mga nakakaintindi at sa mga common na mamamayan na gusto na magpa-bakuna, hindi na namimili. 'Yung iba talaga choosy na pagkawestern ang orientation yun ang parang... pero kakaunti lang naman iyon Mr. President. But we'll ensure na yung directive ninyo will be implemented," he said.

Six vaccine brands have so far secured an emergency use before the FDA, namely AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik V, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Covaxin.

As of Wednesday, May 5, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 1,073,555 COVID-19 cases, 993,042 recoveries, and 17,800 deaths.


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