Pfizer vaccines delayed by paperwork, but still eyed this month — official

The arrival of 117,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine in the country has been slightly delayed due to paperwork, an official leading the inoculation drive said Thursday.

Officials earlier announced that Pfizer-BioNTech shots would arrive in the country on February 15, but the Department of Health said the date was only “indicative.”

“There were few delays in the processing of documents with the COVAX facility and the World Health Organization,” said Vince Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force against Covid-19.

“But we are confident that the shipment will arrive in the next few weeks, within the month of February,” he added.

The vaccine shots from Pfizer-BioNTech are dedicated for medical professionals in Covid-19 referral hospitals, such as the Philippine General Hospital in Manila, Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium Tala Hospital, as well as the East Avenue Medical Center.

Another 5.5 million doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines are also expected to be made available to the country via the COVAX facility during the first quarter of the year.

These are likely to be administered to health care professionals in Covid-19 referral hospitals, those owned by the Department of Health, local governments, and the military, as well as private facilities.

Out of the 72 countries that applied under the COVAX, a mechanism designed to ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines, the Philippines is among the 18 countries that was chosen as recipients of free Covid-19 vaccines.

The government is aiming to secure a total of 146 to 148 million vaccine doses to inoculate at least 50 million people this year alone but it has yet to execute definitive supply agreements with pharmaceutical companies.

The neighboring countries of the Philippines in Southeast Asia, such as Singapore, Indonesia, and Myanmar, have started to immunize its people against the coronavi

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