MANILA – A total of 562,770 out of the 40 million doses of Pfizer vaccine purchased by the government finally arrived in the country on Wednesday, the bulk of which will be allocated to areas in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus 8 that are capable of storing the sensitive shots.
“Ang pagbabagsakan nito ay ‘yong mga local government units na nakita nating qualified na may cold-chain solution so majority nito ay mapupunta sa NCR Plus 8 and also the LGUs [local government units] that have the training and cold-chain solution to accept Pfizer (We will be deploying these to LGUs that are qualified and have cold-chain solution so the majority of these will be sent to NCR Plus 8 and other LGUs with the capacity to store them),” National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. told reporters upon its arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Of the 562,770 doses, 51,480 each will be distributed to Cebu and Davao while the rest were transported to Luzon.
Galvez said the national government has also allocated at least 30,000 doses for seafarers whose destinations require a specific brand of vaccine like Pfizer. He added that three LGUs in Metro Manila will administer the jabs, but declined to disclose the areas.
“[W]e have already coordinated with them (about) the priority on the quota that we have given – allocation are (for) the seafarers and overseas Filipino workers,” he said.
Pfizer is scheduled to ship more doses on July 26 and August 3 to complete the initial 1.4 million it committed to deliver as soon as possible.
While he is confident that the 40 million doses they ordered will arrive within the year, Galvez said there is no timeline yet as to when specific deliveries will be made.
“These (more than 500,000 doses) are advance deliveries because we’re not supposed to have deliveries in July yet but because of the goodwill that they wanted to bring to our Filipino people, Pfizer decided to give us 1.4 million initial delivery from this day to August 3,” he said.
“(As to the batches) we don’t know yet but what we see is that they’ll have a window every week. Indeed, we are very lucky for having accessed 40 million for this year,” he added.
The NCR Plus 8 is composed of Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Batangas, Rizal, Bulacan, Metro Davao, Metro Cebu.
Meanwhile, Galvez said this latest batch might not be downloaded to Muntinlupa after the city encountered a storage issue that compelled them to discard an unknown amount of jabs.
“Sa ngayon ongoing pa ‘yong investigation pero ang nakita natin that’s one of the penalties kasi ng mga LGUs. For the meantime, ‘yon ang agreement natin (The investigation is still ongoing but we see that as one of the penalties for LGUs… For the meantime, that’s the agreement),” he said.
“That’s really what we wanted also, to teach some lessons to LGUs na talagang dapat huwag nating pabayaan ang ating mga bakuna (that you should take care of the vaccines),” he added.
Galvez did not confirm if the shots reportedly discarded were manufactured by Pfizer, saying the national government is still waiting for the investigation’s results.
In a statement on July 17, Muntinlupa said this occurred at the Festival Mall vaccination site but assured the incident was “isolated”.
“Anyone who can be proved to be lacking will be punished appropriately. We will not miss this,” it said.
“Aside from continuous strict compliance with protocols, we will also use state of the art monitoring technology that will automatically send a warning in case an abnormality is detected in the storage facility. We will not only rely on human intervention to avoid any incident,” it added. (PNA)