More than 2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines arrive in the Philippines through the COVAX Facility

Manila, 8 May 2021—More than 2 million doses of AstraZeneca have arrived in the Philippines from the COVAX facility, the international partnership established to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world. This shipment is in addition to half a million doses delivered in March and is part of the 4.5 million total doses committed to the Philippines from COVAX.

“Now that these 2 million vaccine doses have arrived, we urge our kababayans to get their second dose of AstraZeneca vaccines. If you are already in the priority group but have not yet registered with your LGU, please contact your LGU or barangay to get vaccinated. Vaccination is our additional armament against the severe form of COVID-19 and will help decrease hospitalizations. Sa tulong ng mga bakuna, mapoprotektahan nito ang ating mga sarili at ang ating mga mahal sa buhay laban sa malalang uri ng COVID-19,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.

Since the arrival of the first shipment of vaccines from the COVAX Facility in March, more than 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the Philippines. More than 300,000 Filipinos in priority groups have received two doses and are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Each shipment of vaccines from the COVAX Facility brings us one step closer to ensuring the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world and Health for All in the Philippines,” said Dr.
Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO Representative to the Philippines. “However, vaccines do not replace the important prevention measures we practice now – wearing face masks, avoiding crowded places and settings, frequent handwashing, and remaining physically distant from others.”

Nearly 100 percent of the AstraZeneca vaccines delivered last March have been provided to local government units (LGUs). As of 2 May 2021, out of the 525,600 doses, 525,337 have been administered to health workers, the elderly, and persons with underlying health conditions. This new shipment of vaccines will provide second doses to those who have already been administered the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccines, as well as other target populations.

Meanwhile, everyone – vaccinated or not – should continue to adhere to public health measures such as physical distancing, wearing a mask, hand and respiratory hygiene, and ensuring good ventilation by opening windows and doors where possible.

WHO and UNICEF are supporting the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine government in its COVID-19 vaccine rollout from planning, to managing expectations and demand, to supporting vaccination to priority, at-risk populations such as healthcare workers, older persons, and those living with underlying health conditions. Apart from vaccine procurement and delivery, WHO and UNICEF are also assisting with the development of guidelines and policies, managing cold chain and logistics, and building capacity for surveillance, contact tracing, clinical management, and risk communication, and community engagement at national and sub-national levels.

“Vaccines will be an important tool in the effort to contain COVID-19. As they become available, we will be able to reduce the burden on our health system, prevent deaths, severe infections, and hospitalizations. Given that children have been affected by the pandemic with prolonged lockdowns and school closures, the sooner the pandemic will be brought under control, the sooner we can build a better, safer, healthier future for children and for us all,” said Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov, UNICEF Philippines Representative.

The COVAX facility has seen an unprecedented mobilization of funding from governments, the private sector, philanthropic and multilateral partners, among them Team Europe (European Commission and the EU Member States), the United States, UK, Japan, Canada, and Saudi Arabia.

DOH: facebook.com/DOHhealthypilipinas

WHO: facebook.com/whophilippines

UNICEF: facebook.com/unicefphilippines

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About COVAX

COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, as well as civil society organizations, vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others.

Notes to Editors

Full COVAX News Note to Editors: https://www.who.int/initiatives/act-accelerator/covax/covax-news- note-to-editors

List of donor pledges to the Gavi COVAX AMC: https://www.gavi.org/sites/default/files/covid/covax/COVAX-AMC-Donors-Table.pdf

UNICEF COVAX page: https://www.unicef.org/supply/covax-ensuring-global-equitable-access-covid-19- vaccines

Media contacts

DOH
Carlos Joshua Lazaro, External Communication Team Lead, Communications Management Unit - Department of Health, calazaro@doh.gov.ph, +639057631184

WHO Philippines
Jun Ryan Orbina, Communication Officer for Immunization, WHO Philippines, orbinaj@who.int, +63906 438 6312
Suzanne Kerba, Communication Consultant, WHO Philippines, kerbas@who.int, +63977 6476463

UNICEF Philippines
Niko Wieland, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Philippines, nmwieland@unicef.org, +63 917 867 8366

Marge Francia, Communication Officer, UNICEF Philippines, mfrancia@unicef.org, +63917 858 9447