On March 4, Thursday evening, the much-awaited first shipment of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility arrived in the Philippines.
The plane carrying the 487,200 doses developed by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at around 7:10 p.m.
At the Villamor Air Base waits President Rodrigo Duterte and other officials who gathered to personally welcome the shipment’s arrival. Executives from some member countries of the European Union were also invited in what vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. labeled as a “symbolic reception.”
While there are no set protocols yet for the rollout prioritization of the AstraZeneca vaccine, Galvez said some doctors recommended it be given to senior healthcare workers.
“We want to offset those limitations by having this AstraZeneca available for our senior citizens,” Galvez said. “’Yun po ang tinitingnan naming na anggulo, para at least, well protected po ‘yung ating mga vulnerable na senior healthcare workers.”
The National Immunization Technical Advisory Group will be meeting to discuss the matter, Galvez added.