Target: 250K-300K vaccinated a day

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    GOVERNMENT is eyeing the vaccination of 250,000 to 300,000 individuals a day to meet its target of inoculating 50 million to 70 million Filipinos against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) this year, the National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF) said yesterday.

    This will be possible when the bulk of vaccines from different international companies arrives in the third to fourth quarter of the year, NTF deputy implementer Vivencio Dizon said in an interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel.

    “We have a goal of inoculating about 50 million Filipinos this year… And to achieve that target we need to, for the remainder of the year, especially when the bulk of the vaccines come in… anywhere between 250,000 to 300,000 plus per day to reach that goal,” he said.

    The country started the national vaccination drive on March 1. It has so far received 1.1 million doses from China which donated CoronaVac vaccines made by the private Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, and from the World Health Organization-led COVID Facility which sent vaccines made by the British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca.

    Dizon, during the “Laging Handa” public briefing, also said 117,000 doses of vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, also part of the COVAX allotment, will finally arrive next month. The exact date, however, is not yet available.

    The Pfizer vaccine was supposed to be delivered in February but was delayed due to the lack of an indemnity agreement, an indemnification law in the Philippines and some logistical problems.

    Based on the government’s vaccination program, and subject to approval of purchase and supply agreements and the issuance of emergency use authority by the Food and Drug administration, at least 20 million doses from Moderna, 17 million from AstraZeneca, 5 million from Johnson&Johnson, and 25 million from Pfizer are expected to be delivered starting the third quarter of the year. At least 55 million doses are also expected from Russia’s Gamaleya and the US firm Novavax Inc. in the second quarter.

    The vaccination program is prioritizing at least some 1.8 million healthcare workers.

    Except for Johnson&Johnson, the vaccines are administered in two doses per person.

    Once the vaccination of health workers is completed, the government can start the inoculation of other sectors in the priority list like senior citizens, the government and economic frontliners, and the poor.

    NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said one million doses of CoronaVac, worth P700 million and paid for by the Philippine government, are expected to be delivered between March 21 and 31. The country is buying 25 million doses from Sinovac which will be delivered in batches within the year.

    Galvez, led a team of vaccine experts, to India on Tuesday to finalize a supply agreement with drugmaker Novavax and manufacturer Serum Institute of India for 30 million doses of vaccines. SII manufactures Novavax and AstraZeneca vaccines.