The initial 15,000 trial-order doses of Russia-made Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 will be distributed to five local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila, the Department of Health (DOH) said Sunday.
In an interview on radio dzBB, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said the five cities--Makati, Taguig, Muntinlupa, Manila and Parañaque--were chosen because they have the cold storage facilities needed for the vaccine.
Simulations for the handling of the Sputnik vaccines will be conducted by the Parañaque City government in partnership with the private sector.
The Makati City government has partnered with Makati Medical Center to deploy the vaccines.
Sputnik V can be administered to Filipinos ages 18 and above, and its second dose must be given 21 days after the first shot, Cabotaje said.
Cabotaje could not say when the remaining 485,000 Sputnik V doses can be expected, though the government earlier said it expects the jabs to be delivered in May.
On Saturday, the plane carrying the trial-order doses of Russia's Gamaleya Research Institute vaccine landed in Manila. Its arrival was delayed twice due to logistical concerns.
Brazil's health regulator last week rejected Sputnik V over “inherent risks and serious defects,” citing lack of information on safety, quality and effectiveness.
But earlier, the Philippine Food and Drug Administration said Sputnik V has a 91 percent efficacy rate.
Cabotaje, citing latest available data, said that 1.8 million Filipinos have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as of April 28.
However, she admitted that vaccination is "constrained" by the low supply of vaccines.
On Saturday, a health expert said COVID-19 vaccines are safe to be given to mothers who have just given birth.
Dr. Sybil Lizanne Bravo, an OB-GYN and clinical associate at the UP College of Medicine said COVID-19 vaccines are safe for breastfeeding or postpartum mothers.
“It's safe, please have your vaccine right away,” said Bravo, addressing new mothers.
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) called on the Philippine business community to help in the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
“I do call on the Filipino business community to stand up and put pressure, wherever you can, on the government's local level, and globally, to actually fully fund the COVAX facility,” said ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton in a virtual vaccine summit held April 30, 2021.
Organized by the International Chamber of Commerce Philippines (ICCP) and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) the vaccine summit “Equitable Distribution and Safety" highlighted the important role of the private sector in the reliable roll-out of vaccines nationwide.
Denton noted that it is incumbent upon the private sector to assist the government to secure the required magnitude of dosage to attain herd immunity and dispel any thoughts on the so-called vaccine nationalism, based on a global perspective.