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Philippines May Receive Up to 7 Million Vaccine Doses This Month

·2-min read
A healthcare worker prepares to administer Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine at a sports arena on May 4, 2021 in Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines. (Photo: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)
A healthcare worker prepares to administer Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine at a sports arena on May 4, 2021 in Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines. (Photo: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

By Ian Sayson and Siegfrid Alegado

The Philippines’ coronavirus inoculation drive could leap this month, with the possibility of increasing vaccine supplies to about seven million shots from four million. That may boost bids to further reopen.

Between one million to two million AstraZeneca Plc.’s vaccine doses and 1.3 million Pfizer-BioNTech’s shots could be delivered this month through the World Health Organization’s Covax facility, Carlito Galvez, the nation’s vaccine czar, said in a taped briefing televised late Wednesday. “We could get good volumes this May,” he said.

On Monday, Galvez said the nation expects delivery in May of about 4 million doses of vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and Russia’s Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology.

The Philippines is counting on vaccines to help reopen an economy struggling to rebound from last year’s record slump. The government is seeking doses from various nations and manufacturers amid possible delays in delivery of shots from India, which is facing its worst outbreak to date.

As of Tuesday, the government has inoculated about 2.07 million, with 1.7 million at their first dose, Galvez said. In June, the nation’s vaccine supply will be boosted by shots from Moderna Inc., he said.

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  • In the same briefing, President Rodrigo Duterte said he was “warned” by Chinese President Xi Jinping not to create “trouble” during one of their face-to-face meetings. Duterte said the warning came after he told Xi that “some” day he will stake the Southeast Asian nation’s claim in the disputed South China Sea

  • Duterte also said he’s ordered withdrawal of 1,000 shots of Sinopharm Group Co. Ltd.’s vaccine to quell criticism. He earlier this week took a Sinopharm vaccine even though the local Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve it for emergency use

  • Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said the nation’s conducting seven trials for possible Covid-19 treatment and prevention including use of anti-parasitic drug ivermectin, virgin coconut oil, lagundi and tawa tawa

  • Duterte said the government shouldn’t allow people to choose vaccines supplied by the state for this is discriminatory and may create problems

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.