The Philippines is expecting the arrival of 193,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine today, Health Secretary Francisco Duque confirmed.
The incoming Pfizer vaccines will be distributed in Metro Manila and other “major cities” which can handle the vaccines’ storage requirements of -70 to 80°C. This is the initial delivery of the assured 1.3 million doses, says Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. (Read: Popes Francis, Benedict XVI Receive First Dose of COVID Vaccine)
“The Pfizer vaccines will be distributed maybe in the NCR, in Metro Cebu, in Metro Davao City, and the other major cities that can handle the required temperature,” Sec. Duque said.
The shipment is another donation from COVAX, a global initiative led by the World Health Organization, vaccine alliance Gavi, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
Because of this, Sec. Duque said that the government will likewise follow the priority framework for vaccine recipients — with individuals under the A1-A3 priority group seen to get the first jabs. (Read: How Effective is China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 Vaccine?)
The Philippines was supposed to receive the first batch of 117,000 Pfizer doses in February. However, the delivery was hampered due to the absence of an indemnification deal, which settles who will shoulder the cost of adverse effects from the vaccine.
On Saturday, the country received 2 million COVID-19 shots developed by Britain’s Oxford-AstraZeneca through COVAX.
Meanwhile, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has warned the public of fake Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines in the global market.
According to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, local government units and the public should be cautious when sourcing their vaccines to ensure genuine and safe vaccines. (Read: US Bishops Raise Concerns About Johnson & Johnson Vaccine)
“While there is no information yet on the presence of the fake vaccines in the country, LGUs should exercise increased diligence as these fake vaccines may be dangerous to the health of those who get inoculated,” the DILG said in a statement.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) will investigate and confiscate any fake COVID-19 vaccines that may have entered the country.
Just recently, the WHO issued a global medical product alert on the existence of a fake COVID-19 vaccine with the product name “BNT162b2” apparently manufactured by Pfizer BioNTech. It was first discovered in Mexico.