No definite date for vaccine arrival, Duque clarifies

AdChoiceTV News — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III clarified yesterday that there is no definite date yet for the arrival in the country of COVID-19 vaccines.

Duque told AdChoiceTV News there is “no truth” to reports that on Feb.14 more than a million doses of COVID-19 vaccines will arrive in the Philippines. Quoting a reliable airport source, AdChoiceTV News reported that the vaccines would be arriving in the country on Valentine’s Day.

“There is no communication (from vaccine manufacturers) about that, as in zero. It’s purely indicative. There’s no date, no flight (schedule), no time. Zero,” Duque said.

The health chief noted the Philippine government was “just told that vaccines will arrive maybe February, mid-February or week after mid-February.”

He also stressed that only 117,000 Pfizer vaccines – not 400,000 – will comprise the first batch of deliveries from the US pharmaceutical giant.

In an interview with Sa Totoo Lang at OnePh last Wednesday, National Task Force medical adviser Ted Herbosa said the first batch of vaccines will arrive in the country by mid-February.

The first to arrive will not come from our neighboring country. It will come in the middle of February, I think the schedule is Feb. 14, Valentines Day,” he claimed, apparently referring to Pfizer vaccines.

Herboza added that aside from Pfizer vaccines, the country stands to get AstraZeneca vaccines through the World Health Organization (WHO).

At an earlier forum, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the 117,000 vaccine doses from Pfizer will likely arrive by mid-February.

Galvez added that AstraZeneca, on the other hand, would be delivering 5,500,800 to 9,290,400 doses by “mid/late February.”

This is subject to issuance of Emergency Use Listing by WHO for AstraZeneca and the “completion of the next steps.”

The provision of the vaccines to the Philippines is being facilitated by the COVAX Facility, a system initiated by the WHO to ensure “rapid, fair, equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines around the world.” — via Irvin Chua

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