|Posted on March 4, 2021 at 9:30 PM|
As many as 23 million doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine against COVID-19 will be delivered to the Philippines within the year, according to British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce on Friday.
Interviewed on Unang Balita, Pruce said the Philippines will see a "steady stream" of AstraZeneca vaccines starting with the nearly 500,000 doses that arrived on Thursday night as part of the COVAX Facility.
"I think you'll see a steady stream of consignment arriving throughout the rest of the year, and in total I think by the end of the year we'll have something in the order of 22 to 23 million shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the Philippines," he said.
AstraZeneca is a British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company based in Cambridge, England.
Pruce said the vaccine shipments will include the doses contained in the tripartite agreements between AstraZeneca, private firms, and local government units in the Philippines. It will also include more doses from the COVAX Facility, a global initiative led by the World Health Organization (WHO).
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On Thursday night, 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine arrived in the Philippines, the second vaccine shipment after the arrival of 600,000 Sinovac doses on February 28.
WHO country representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said 4.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive in the country by batches before the end of May. He said the vaccines received from the COVAX Facility will protect up to 20% of Filipinos.
Pruce described the arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccines as a "wonderful moment" as he assured the Philippines of "further deliveries" of vaccines -- not only AstraZeneca's -- from the COVAX Facility.
"Of course within the COVAX Facility there will be further deliveries planned, I think 4 to 5 million in total of the AstraZeneca vaccine and other vaccines as well," he said.
In a video message, Pruce said the vaccine consignments are part of the United Kingdom's commitment to do all it can to ensure equitable access to safe and effective vaccines.
He also noted AstraZeneca's commitment to supply the vaccine "on a not-for-profit basis" during the pandemic.
The United Kingdom is one of the largest donors to the COVAX Facility.
AstraZeneca, which can be administered to individuals aged 18 and above, secured an emergency use authorization from the Philippine Food and Drug administration (FDA) on January 28.
Based on FDA evaluation, AstraZeneca’s efficacy rate reached 70% after first dose and that such rating increases after administration of second dose after four to 12 weeks. --KBK