COVAX delivers over 2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to PHMay 8, 2021
Manila —Over 2 million doses of AstraZeneca have arrived Saturday in the Philippines from the COVAX facility.
COVAX is the international mechanism seeking to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world.
The latest shipment is in addition to half a million doses delivered in March. It is part of the 4.5 million total doses the facility has committed to the Philippines.
“Now that these 2 million vaccine doses have arrived, we urge our kababayans to get their second dose of AstraZeneca vaccines,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.
He urged those in the priority group but have not yet registered with their local government to get vaccinated.
“Vaccination is our additional armament against the severe form of COVID-19 and will help decrease hospitalizations,” Duque said.
Since the arrival of the first shipment of vaccines from the COVAX Facility in March, the Department of Health has administered more than 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
More than 300,000 Filipinos in priority groups have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
“Each shipment of vaccines from the COVAX Facility brings us one step closer to ensuring the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world and Health for All in the Philippines,” said Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO Representative to the Philippines.
“However, vaccines do not replace the important prevention measures we practice now.” These measures include the wearing of face masks, avoiding crowded places and settings, frequent handwashing, and observe social distancing.
UNICEF Philippines said almost 100 percent of the AstraZeneca vaccines delivered last March have been provided to local government units (LGUs).
As of 2 May 2021, out of the 525,600 doses, the DOH has administered 525,337 to health workers, the elderly, and persons with underlying health conditions.
This new shipment of vaccines will provide second doses to those who have already got their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccines.
WHO and UNICEF
WHO and UNICEF are supporting the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine government in its COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The support includes planning, to managing expectations and demand, to supporting vaccination to priority, at-risk populations.
Apart from vaccine procurement and delivery, WHO and UNICEF also assist with the development of guidelines and policies.
WHO and UNICEF also help in managing storage, and building capacity for surveillance, contact tracing, clinical management, and risk communication. They also assist in community engagement at national and sub-national levels.
“Vaccines will be an important tool in the effort to contain COVID-19,” said Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov, UNICEF Philippines Representative.
The availability of the vaccine will help “reduce the burden on our health system, prevent deaths, severe infections, and hospitalizations.”
The pandemic has also adversely affected the children with prolonged lockdowns and school closures.
He said bringing the pandemic under control the soonest time possible, the better.
“The sooner we can build a better, safer, healthier future for children and for us all,” he explained.
COVAX has mobilized funding from governments, the private sector, philanthropic partners. Multilateral partners, among them Team Europe, United States, UK, Japan, Canada, and Saudi Arabia have also funded the facility. (amm/PR)
PHOTO: More than 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility were delivered to the Philippines on 8 May 2021. (UNICEF photo)