Philippines receives first batch of Covid-19 vaccines from China

WION Web Team
Manila, Philippines Published: Feb 28, 2021, 04:57 PM(IST)

Sinovac's vaccine Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

On Monday, top government officials and health workers will be the first on Monday to receive the Chinese-made vaccine -- called CoronaVac -- just days after the drug regulator approved it for emergency use. There are, however, a few concerns over the Sinovac jab's effectiveness.

The Philippines received its first batch of Covid-19 vaccines -- 600,000 doses -- from China Sunday, kickstarting the country's inoculation drive.

On Monday, top government officials and health workers will be the first on Monday to receive the Chinese-made vaccine -- called CoronaVac -- just days after the drug regulator approved it for emergency use. There are, however, a few concerns over the Sinovac jab's effectiveness.

President Rodrigo Duterte, whose government has been under fire over delays in procuring vaccines, oversaw the delivery of the doses at a military air base.

Around 525,000 doses of the AstraZeneca jab were also due to arrive Monday as part of the COVAX global inoculation programme and will also be offered to healthcare workers.

An advisory group to the Philippine government allowed it to be offered to those willing to take it, but many nurses and doctors are reluctant and have opted to wait for other vaccines.

Several top officials -- including the health minister -- are expected to receive the CoronaVac jab.

President Duterte, who has defended Chinese-made vaccines, suggested he will be inoculated in public, having previously said he would receive it in private. But the 75-year-old leader's doctors are still deciding which vaccine to use for him.

The rollout came as the number of daily new infections in the Philippines hit a four-month high. More than 570,000 cases have been confirmed, including over 12,000 deaths.

Aside from hospital workers, the military is set to receive 100,000 Sinovac doses.

Members of the Philippines armed forces are required to get vaccinated and those who refuse could be disciplined.

The government is in talks with seven vaccine makers, including Sinovac, in the hope of securing enough doses to inoculate 70 million people -- about 60 percent of the population -- this year.

(with inputs)

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