The first batch of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine has been delivered to the Philippines. 

The first shipment of the anti-coronavirus jab arrived yesterday (May 10) at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) onboard DHL Plane Flight LD457. The cluster – which contains 193,050 vials – was acquired through the World Health Organization’s COVAX Facility. 

The COVAX Facility was developed by the United Nation’s specialized health agency to ensure that all countries have an equal chance to acquire vaccines for their citizens. 

Present during the welcoming of the US vaccine manufacturer’s COVID-19 shots were Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña, Deputy Chief Implementer Vince Dizon, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, and Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega. 

In a statement, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said the vaccines will be administered to senior citizens, persons with comorbidities, and front-line health workers – who are part of the government’s initial vaccination group. 

“These additional Pfizer vaccines will be used on priority groups A1 to A3, who will be receiving the first dose of these vaccines. We have been working hard to bring these vaccines to the country especially with the scarce global supply of COVID-19 vaccines,” he said.

“We thank the COVAX facility and all of our partners for making this possible. We will continue to boost public confidence in our national vaccination program,” Duque added. 

The vaccines are set to be distributed to key areas in Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao, specifically in places that have high COVID-19 infection rates. 

Pfizer’s vaccines were scheduled to arrive in the country in mid-February of this year, however, the delivery of that jabs was hampered by a lack of an indemnity deal, which names the party who will settle the cost of the vaccine’s potential side effects.

It’s the fourth FDA-approved vaccine to be used in the national government’s inoculation drive with first three being AstraZeneca, CoronaVac, and Sputnik V.

In his latest report, vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government has administered a total of 2,409,235 anti-coronavirus shots – two months into the government’s inoculation program.

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