Global constrictions on the acquisition of coronavirus vaccines may result in reduced supplies from the COVAX Facility, National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said on April 5, 2021.
Galvez, however, assured the government is exerting all efforts to have access to vaccines.
“Considering also with the global constriction of AstraZeneca, most probably ay talaga pong magkakaroon ng (we are expecting a) reduction,” he said during the Palace press briefing.
“We are just working for the access. We will pay all those vaccines,” he added.
Countries that expected AstraZeneca deliveries in March were informed they will be moved to April, according to a Unicef (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) report.
“Deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII) to lower-income economies participating in the COVAX Facility will face delays during March and April as the Government of India battles a new wave of infections. COVAX and the Government of India remain in discussions to ensure some supplies are completed during March and April,” the Unicef report on March 25 said.
Under the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, SII is contracted to provide COVAX with the SII-licensed and manufactured AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines for 64 lower-income economies, alongside its commitments to the Government of India.
India, however, has a high demand for the vaccines, thus the delay.
Full deployment of the newly arrived one million doses of Chinese-made CoronaVac is ongoing nationwide.
Galvez said another 1.5 million doses are arriving in the coming weeks, along with some 500,000 doses of Sputnik V from Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute.
In May, 2 million doses of Sputnik V, 2 million doses of CoronaVac, and 194,000 doses of Moderna vaccine are likewise expected.
Also set for delivery in June are 10.5 million doses – 4.5 million doses of CoronaVac, 4 million doses of Sputnik V, and 1 million doses each of AstraZeneca and Novavax.
Galvez said the scaling up of the global supply of coronavirus vaccines is expected, beginning July.
Despite some challenges on vaccine acquisition, he assured the government will exert all efforts to meet its target of achieving herd immunity among 50 to 70 million Filipinos.
Galvez noted the countries of origin of Covid-19 vaccines are now allocating the available supplies for their own citizens.
“These countries that are producing vaccines tend to gather all the available supplies, at the same time, to pick or to accelerate their vaccination,” he said.
The government is mulling for some adjustment to the country’s vaccination campaign amid a limited global supply of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“But we expect also by month of July magkakaroon ng (there will be) easing out of the global supply considering that nangako naman po sila na kapag natapos na sila (they promised once they completed their vaccination) they will share some of their excess to their allied countries,” Galvez said.
In July, the Philippines expects 13.5 million doses, including Johnson&Jonhson jabs.
The government will secure about 20 million doses each month from August to December this year.
So far, the Philippines has vaccinated 825,662. Of the total, 781,415 are healthcare workers, with 28,401 already done with the second dose.
Galvez reported the Philippines is ranked 50th among 155 countries in terms of administering the Covid-19 vaccine, according to financial and media company Bloomberg’s tracker as of April 5.
Bloomberg’s data also showed about 673 million doses have been administered across 155 countries, enough to vaccinate 4.4 percent of the global population.
The 10 that have administered the most number of vaccines are the United States, China, the European Union, India, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Turkey, Germany, Indonesia, and France.
“Nakikita po natin ang nangunguna ‘yung apat na countries, sila po yung halos bumubuo ng mga kumukuha po ng vaccines sa global market (As we see, the four leading countries got the available vaccines in the global market),” Galvez said.
In Southeast Asia, the Philippines is ranked fourth behind Indonesia, Singapore, and Myanmar.
COVAX has notified all affected economies of potential delays, according to Unicef. (Lade Jean Kabagani, PNA)