Philippines receives additional vaccines through COVAX Facility

Joint press statement of the Department of Health, World Health Organization and UNICEF

10 May 2021
Vaccines being unloaded from a cargo plane
WHO/J Orbina
193,050 doses of donated Pfizer vaccines from the WHO-led COVAX facility were delivered to the Philippines on 10 May 2021.

The Philippines on Monday received the first 193,050 doses of donated Pfizer vaccines from the WHO-led COVAX facility.

The national government led by the vaccine cluster with representatives from the United Nations, World Health Organization (WHO), the UNICEF, US Embassy, and Pfizer Philippines received the vaccine doses at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City.

“These additional Pfizer vaccines will be used on priority groups A1 to A3, who will be receiving the first dose of these vaccines. We have been working hard to bring these vaccines to the country especially with the scarce global supply of COVID-19 vaccines. We thank the COVAX facility and all of our partners for making this possible. We will continue to boost public confidence in our national vaccination program,” said Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.

The arrival of the additional vaccines will allow more Filipinos to get inoculated against COVID-19. The government is currently administering the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to health care workers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities. A ceremony was conducted on May 1, in which 5,000 economic fronliners who belong to the A4 priority group were vaccinated.

“In February, the U.S Government announced a $4 billion contribution to support the purchase and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility. This includes an initial contribution of $2 billion to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), which enables donor-funded access to safe and effective vaccines for 92 low- and middle-income countries, said Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO Representative to the Philippines." "Many of the people who will receive the COVID-19 vaccines arriving today are Filipino healthcare workers – whose dedication and hard work continues to save lives and keep us safe. Healthcare workers are at the front of the line for vaccination because they are risking their health at the frontlines for the rest of us. We welcome the arrival of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility.”

The government is eyeing a total of 1.3 million doses of Pfizer vaccines through the COVAX facility. The initial doses of 193,050 would be used to test the logistics needed to store and transport the vaccines.

“Thanks to the outstanding work of our partners in the COVAX Facility, successful multi-stakeholder collaboration led by the Philippine Government, and technical support for ultra-cold chain vaccine delivery, today’s arrival of vaccines is one more step in the fight against COVID-19. UNICEF is bringing the full weight of our experience -- as the world’s largest single procurer of vaccines for children -- to help procure and deliver COVID-19 vaccines and specialized syringes, and to help countries in their roll-out plans. This is a unique opportunity to build the systems needed to prevent future pandemics, accelerate action to ensure every child has access to essential healthcare, and save lives,” said UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov.

Even with the scarce global supply, the Philippines is continuously negotiating with vaccine manufacturers to get additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines. The country is expecting additional doses of vaccines in the following months to help ramp up the speed of the country’s COVID-19 vaccination program with the help of the COVAX facility. 

DOH: facebook.com/DOHhealthypilipinas

WHO: facebook.com/whophilippines

UNICEF: facebook.com/unicefphilippines

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Notes to Editors:

Full COVAX News Note to Editors:
https://www.who.int/initiatives/act-accelerator/covax/covax-news-note-to-editors

List of donor pledges to the Gavi COVAX AMC:
https://www.gavi.org/sites/default/files/covid/covax/COVAX-AMC-Donors-Table.pdf

UNICEF COVAX page:
https://www.unicef.org/supply/covax-ensuring-global-equitable-access-covid-19-vaccines

Media contacts

Carlos Joshua Lazaro
External Communication Team Lead, Communications Management Unit
Department of Health
Tel: +63 905 763 1184
Jun Ryan Orbina
Communications Officer for the Expanded Programme on Immunization
WHO Philippines
Tel: +63 906 438 6312

About COVAX

COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, as well as civil society organizations, vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others.

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in the Philippines, visit www.unicef.ph.

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