The Philippines has received its first batch of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccines through the global COVAX initiative, health authorities announced on Monday.
The National Task Force Against COVID-19 said in a statement that the government received an additional 38,400 doses on Sunday night.
“With the arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccines in the country — all 525,600 doses — there is no doubt that the WHO-led COVAX is committed to carry out its crucial role of ensuring that less-developed nations have equitable access to life-saving vaccines,” Carlito G. Galvez Jr, chief of the task force, said in the statement.
COVAX is co-led by the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organization (WHO). It aims to accelerate the development and production of COVID-19 vaccines, and guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.
The Philippines began its COVID-19 vaccination campaign last Monday, a day after it received 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine from China.
“These vaccines are essential in maintaining the momentum of our vaccine rollout. This will enable the government to achieve its goal of preserving the integrity of the nation’s healthcare system and ensure that it will be able to effectively manage a spike in COVID-19 cases,” said Galvez.
The government intends to vaccinate all of 1.7 million healthcare workers by April as experts fear an upsurge in the cases including the new variant from South Africa, he added.
The country has received a total of 1,125,600 vaccine doses thus far, according to the statement.
The Southeast Asian country has so far recorded nearly 595,000 coronavirus cases, including more than 12,500 deaths and over 545,000 recoveries.
*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo with Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian language services in Jakarta
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