1.5M more CoronaVac doses arrive

The Philippines on Friday took delivery of 1.5 million more doses of CoronaVac made by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd., a task force said in a social media post on Friday.

The country has received 5.5 million doses of vaccines — five million from Sinovac, 525,600 from AstraZeneca Plc. and 15,000 from Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.

The Health department said about 2.1 million doses had been given as of May 4, with 320,586 people having completed their vaccination.

Vaccination continues for healthcare workers, senior citizens and people who are seriously ill.

Vaccine czar Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. earlier said the country would take delivery of about 1.3 million doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer, Inc. this month.

Mr. Galvez said as many as two million doses of the vaccine made by AstraZeneca, Plc would arrive this month.

Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire on Friday said the inter-agency task force on Thursday approved the testing of incoming travelers on the seventh day of their quarantine.

The agency earlier said it wanted travelers to be tested for the coronavirus seven or eight days upon arrival, when viral load is high.

Travelers must also complete 10 days of quarantine before they can go somewhere else where they can continue the remaining four days of quarantine, Ms. Vergeire told a televised news briefing.

Presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque Jr., told a separate news briefing the task force had also placed Zamboanga City under a modified enhanced community quarantine until May 14 and Tacloban City under a general community quarantine until May 31.

Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo M. Lacson said the government wants a P90-billion budget for vaccine orders under the Health department’s budget next year.

In a statement, Mr. Lacson said he and Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III met with vaccine czar Carlito G. Galvez Jr., testing czar Vivencio B. Dizon, and contact tracing czar Benjamin B. Magalong on Thursday to discuss red tape issues and funding needs hounding the country’s fight against COVID-19.

The government officials wanted to itemize the P90 billion under the Health agency’s budget instead of putting it under unprogrammed funds to ensure availability, Mr. Lacson said.

The officials also said that P20 billion should also be allotted for vaccine procurement under the proposed Bayanihan 3. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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