The one sticking point for the country at this moment in time regarding the efforts to clamp down on COVID-19 is the issue of getting any or all of the available choices in vaccines formulated by pharmaceutical companies and laboratories around the world. While the quest for vaccines has been taken up not only by the national government but by the LGUs and private sectors, sometimes in a complex cooperative arrangement, from overseas international initiatives like COVAX are making sure as many nations as can be will have equitable COVID vaccine access. As the Philippines already joined this initiative, it is now assured of vaccines arriving in Q1 this year.

According to CNN Philippines the COVAX global initiative between the UN World Health Organization (WHO), GAVI Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has allotted a delivery of COVID vaccines to the Philippines before the end of the first quarter for 2021. This was announced on Wednesday, January 20, by the Department of Health (DOH). This comes as a culmination of sorts for Philippine Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. and his entreaties to the COVAX facility for early vaccine access to the country, which has a COVID case total approaching half a million.

In a follow-up statement this Thursday, January 21, DOH spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire gave clarification on how many doses of the COVID vaccine the Philippines might expect from COVAX. “They have committed to provide us with 20% of our need for the population. But as initial, they might be providing the first 3% only,” says Vergeire. That much at least is sure to arrive in the country during Q1 2021. It should join the around 145 million vaccine doses that the national government is angling to guarantee in deals with various pharmaceutical sources within January.

COVID-19 vaccines generally must be administered in a double dose, with a gap, for each person seeking protection from the virus that has caught the world in the throes of pandemic since last year. In addition to what the COVAX initiative can send, there is already an initial batch of vaccines from Pfizer expected to arrive next month, February. That one already has Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Image courtesy of Philippine Star