Duterte OKs use of AstraZeneca vax as 1st dose for front-liners

Duterte OKs use of AstraZeneca vax as 1st dose for front-liners

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has given his nod to the recommendation to administer around 525,000 coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines developed by AstraZeneca as the first dose to medical front-liners, Malacañang announced on Friday.

Duterte signed a memorandum allowing the use of all the available AstraZeneca vaccine doses among frontline healthcare workers to protect them against Covid-19, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, quoting Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, in an online press briefing.

“President Duterte has approved request to utilize all on-hand COVAX-donated AstraZeneca vaccines as first dose vaccination in order to protect a larger number of front-line healthcare workers in areas with increasing transmission,” Roque said.

The Palace has yet to release a copy of the memorandum.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III asked Duterte on Monday to use AstraZeneca vaccines as a first shot to provide partial protection to medical front-liners.

Duque made the proposal to ensure that no supply would go to waste.

He explained that the time interval for administering the two doses of AstraZeneca vaccines is three months, the same time the vaccines will expire.

Duterte said Duque’s proposal is a “good solution”.

On March 4, the Philippines received some 487,200 vaccines manufactured by AstraZeneca. Three days after, additional 48,300 AstraZeneca vaccines arrived in the country.

The AstraZeneca vaccines delivered to the country form part of the 44 million vaccine shots that will be donated to the Philippines through the Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility.

The Philippines aims to inoculate up to 70 million Filipinos this year to achieve herd immunity. (PNA)

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