An additional 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines made by Sinovac arrived in the Philippines on Sunday afternoon.
According to flag carrier Philippine Airlines, the vaccines were on board flight PR359 from Beijing using the A330 aircraft.
The Philippines procured some 25 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine of which 1 million were received in March.
Senator Christopher Go said more vaccines, particularly from China and Russia, were expected to arrive here soon as the government’s national vaccination program continued to move forward.
He said an initial 20,000 doses out of a total of 500,000 Sputnik vaccines from Russia is expected to arrive this month, too.
Vice President Leni Robredo urged the government to include people with comorbidities working outside their homes in the priority list of the COVID-19 vaccination program.
“I just hope that those less than 60 [years old] who have comorbidity and those who do not have the capacity to work from home must be first. Those who work from home, those just at home would want to get ahead of others,” she said.
Prior to the first batch of vaccines procured, the Philippines received 1 million doses of Sinovac vaccines donated by the Chinese government and 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca from the global aid initiative COVAX Facility.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the inoculation of senior citizens with the Sinovac vaccine amid a shortage of vaccine supply.
Last week, Moody’s Analytics said the Philippines and other countries depending on the COVAX facility for their COVID-19 jabs will need to find alternative sources as India has imposed a temporary ban on the export of AstraZeneca vaccines to meet local demand.
"South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam are among countries to be hit by shipment delays to vaccines they have been promised under the COVAX program. The shortage could leave these countries further behind in inoculations, increasing the vaccine inequity, and undermine international efforts to counter the pandemic," Moody's Associate Economist Eric Chiang said.
The country has administered out 854,063 doses as of April 5, the 50th highest among 155 countries, according to vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. In Southeast Asia, the Philippines has the fourth highest vaccination figures, next to Indonesia, Singapore, and Myanmar, he added.
Those vaccinated in the Philippines include 789,415 health workers, about 11,000 elderly, and some 7,100 people with comorbidities, said Galvez, who is also chief implementer of the National Task Force against COVID-19.