Bangkok, Mar 1 (efe-epa).- The Philippines began Monday its immunization campaign against covid-19 by vaccinating several health authorities, after receiving its first 600,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac jab the day before, donated by China’s government, authorities said in a statement.
Dr. Gerardo Legaspi, director of the General Hospital of the Philippines, one of the largest in the country, was the first to be vaccinated, followed by other authorities, such as the head of vaccine management, Carlito Galvez, government officials and hospital health personnel.
In addition to this Manila health center, the first doses were injected into staff at five other hospitals in the Philippine capital.
“We receive this day with high hopes of finally ending the Covid-19 pandemic in our country. Today we take a new step toward our fight against Covid-19 with the receipt of 600,000 vaccines from the People’s Republic of China,” Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday during the award ceremony.
According to a government statement, the Philippines has secured 161 million doses from seven different producers.
In addition to the 600,000 doses donated by China, the Philippines plans to receive 3.5 million doses from Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals Astrazaneca and US-based Pfizer this quarter through the World Health Organization’s COVAX program, which promotes equitable access to vaccines for developing countries.
The country will receive another 1.5 million doses of Sinovac this month, a small part of the 25 million doses purchased by the government, which estimates that the mass inoculation program will not begin until the third or fourth quarter of the year.
The Philippines is, after Indonesia, the country most affected by Covid-19 in Southeast Asia, with more than 576,000 cases and 12,318 deaths caused by the coronavirus. EFE-EPA