MALACANANG (28 July 2021) — The National Task Force (NTF) against COVID 19 is determined to scale up the deployment of its vaccine deliveries to meet the growing demand from the general public, as well as the increasing capacities of local government units (LGUs) across the country to inoculate their constituents.
“Despite the bulk vaccine deliveries, kulang na kulang pa rin po ang ating supply in order to inoculate our target population of 70.8 million Filipinos,” said NTF Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr on Wednesday during his report to the President Rodrigo Duterte.
According to Galvez, the monthly deliveries of vaccines to the country should reach at least 20-25 million doses.
For August and September, he said the government needs to significantly increase its procured vaccine doses.
“With this increased volume, our vaccine supply will be able to match the growing demand by October, as we have already seen our vaccination rate picking up because our LGUs are ramping up their capacities to quickly inoculate their constituents, Galvez said.
“We also have the private sector complementing this effort. So what we really need is more vaccines in our supply inventory,” he added.
In a recent Pulse Asia survey, 43% of Filipinos said they are willing to get inoculated against COVID 19.
This was a big jump from the results of the first quarter survey which showed that only 16% of Filipnos wanted to get the jab.
This uptick in public uptake for the vaccines was also reflected in a Social Weather Station survey conducted in June wherein Filipinos’ public acceptance for the vaccines rose from 23% to 36%.
Last July 27, the country recorded its highest daily vaccine throughput of 659,029 jabs administered. For the fourth quarter, the government aims to inoculate at least 750, 000 a day to meet its target to vaccinate 70% of the country’s population.
Galvez said the vaccine negotiating team is continuously coordinating with all manufacturers to increase the volume of their deliveries to the Philippines.
He shared that consular posts abroad are also in talks with these manufacturers to ensure the bulk shipment of vaccine doses, particularly those procured by the national government such as Moderna, Sputnik V, Pfizer, and Sinovac.
Moderna has so far delivered 344,400 doses out of the 13 million doses procured by the national government.
Gamaleya has delivered 350,000 Sputnik V doses out of the 10 million shots ordered by the government, while Pfizer has shipped out 938,340 doses out of the 40 million doses under the supply agreement signed last month.
Meanwhile Sinovac, which started its deliveries last March, has so far shipped out 16.6 million doses out of the 26 million doses ordered by the government.
A total of 32,860,700 doses of COVID 19 vaccines have been delivered to the country.
The vaccine czar said these vaccines can inoculate around 17.3 million Filipinos if each individual received the required two doses.
Some three million senior citizens (A2) and persons with comorbidities (A3) have been fully protected using the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines donated by the US government and COVAX.
Galvez said the Philippines expects to receive a total of 19,817,890 vaccine doses this July.
As of date, 15.4 million doses have been delivered. One million doses of Sinovac will arrive on Friday, while the 415,000 doses of Astrazeneca from the UK government will be delivered this weekend.
Galvez added three million doses of Moderna vaccines from the US government and the COVAX facility are also due to arrive on the last day of the month or in the first week of August.
“The donation of the US government and COVAX for the 3.2 million J&J vaccines, as well as the additional three million doses of Moderna will be a substantial addition to our supply inventory,” he said.
Multiple sources of vaccine supply
The vaccine czar said the government is focused on ensuring that vaccine shipments from all sources – whether procured or from COVAX – will be delivered on time.
He noted that the vaccine supplies procured by the private sector and LGUs have started to arrive.
Another 1,170,000 doses of Astrazeneca vaccines procured through a tripartite agreement will be shipped to the country within the second week of August.
The vaccine czar said that discussions on scaling up the shipments are also being pursued by the NTF.
He also reported that the vaccine supplies from COVAX will be “decisive” in the next months and would have to surpass the deliveries it made this July.
The global vaccine sharing mechanism has committed 44 million doses to the Philippines or the supply needed to inoculate 20% of the country’s population.
The facility has already delivered 10,297,060 doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines since March, with the bulk of the supplies consisting of 5.26 million doses arriving in July.
Galvez said COVAX is shipping out four million doses to the Philippines in August but ongoing negotiations are still being conducted to increase this volume.
“As we work on increasing our monthly vaccine deliveries from various sources, we are also keen on ensuring our LGUs are ready to accept highly sensitive vaccines like Moderna and Pfizer,” Galvez said.
“They need to upgrade their cold storage management and capability in handling these vaccines, especially that these types will comprise the bulk of our supply inventory in the remaining months of 2021,” he added.
More than 70 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines that have ultra-low storage requirements were procured by the national government and the private sector, with similar vaccine types are now being distributed by the COVAX facility. END