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“We welcome this day with hopes to finally ending the Covid-19 pandemic in our country. Today we make another step towards in our ongoing fight against Covid-19 as we receive 600,000 Coronavac from the People’s Republic of China.”
— President Rodrigo R. Duterte
By EDD K. USMAN
(SDN) — A busy day today, the 1st of March 2021, at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila and other select medical institutions.
It marked the first day — a much awaited and anticipated day, indeed — as the Philippines finally got rolling the government’s coronavirus vaccination program.
The final day of February 2021 yesterday saw the arrival of a Chinese military aircraft that carried 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine China donated to the Philippines.
No less than President Rodrigo R. Duterte led the welcome for the donation with a turnover ceremony at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, Metro Manila.
More Sinovac vaccines as well as from Pfizer and AstraZeneca are scheduled to arrive this year procured by the Duterte administration.
The government has set eyes on 161 million vaccine doses towards a massive vaccination program to create herd immunity for the around 110 million Filipino population.
National Task Force (NTF) versus Covid-19 Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. got the vaccine himself to demonstrate the safety of the Chinese developed cure for SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
“We welcome this day with hopes to finally ending the Covid-19 pandemic in our country. Today we make another step towards in our ongoing fight against Covid-19 as we receive 600,000 Coronavac from the People’s Republic of China,” the President said at Villamor Air Base.
Believe, trust: NTF vs. Covid-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. receives the jab at Philippine General Hospital (PGH) which got 1,200 Sinovac doses. PGH’s Chareluck Rovan S. Santos administers vaccine on Galvez.
Proof of vaccination.
Priming up for the vaccine rollout.
Jab for healthcare front-liners.
The NTF announced on Sunday the initial rollout of the vaccine program starting with Sinovac were scheduled at PGH, Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP), Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center (JNRMMC), Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC), Philippine National Police General Hospital (PNPGH), and Victoriano Luna Medical Center (VLMC).
Of the 600,000 Sinovac doses, they are for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and front-liners (medical and police personnel).
Earlier, the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) recommended the Sinovac jabs to be given to healthcare workers to ensure preservation of the Philippines healthcare system.
“China has decided to donate vaccines to the Philippines and more Chinese vaccines prodcured by the Philippine government will come soon as expected. This not only shows the solidarity and friendship between our two countries and two peoples.
— Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Department of Health (DOH) granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Sinovac.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian cited the parallel effort of the Chinese and Philippine militaries in the battle to get rid of Covid-19.
More vaccine doses arriving soon
“China has decided to donate vaccines to the Philippines and more Chinese vaccines prodcured by the Philippine government will come soon as expected. This not only shows the solidarity and friendship between our two countries and two peoples. It also signifies the intent of both militaries in fighting Covid-19 and deepening our defense cooperation,” Huang emphasized.
The President and Galvez issued separate calls on Filipinos to stand up and join the government’s immunization program, of which the massive rollout starts once the bulk of 161 vaccine doses procured by the government arrives this year soon.
“As we ramp up our preparations for the vaccine rollout, we call on our countrymen to take part in this massive and historic immunization program.
“With the added layer of protection provided by the vaccines, we expect a significant decrease in active Covid-19 cases leading to less stringent community quarantine restrictions, increased economic activity, and a greater sense of normalcy in the lives of our people,” the vaccine czar assured.
From the WHO COVAX facility the Philippines expects to receive 3.5 million vaccine doses from Pfizer and AstraZeneca this quarter. The government secured the 161 million doses for 2021 from seven manufacturers.
Aside from Sinovac donation of 600,000 doses, the government also procured 25 million from the Chinese manufacturer with 1.5 million doses expected to arrive this March. (✓)
All images from NTF vs. Covid-19