First Pfizer Vaccines to Arrive in Philippines by April: Official

With up to 95% efficacy.
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The Philippines will receive its initial supply of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines in April, a government official said Wednesday as the country works to sustain the immunization program it started this month.

Some 117,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines, courtesy of the COVAX global facility which is led by the World Health Organization, are set to arrive next month, COVID-19 testing czar Vince Dizon said.

The jabs were supposed to arrive in February but were stalled due to a lack of a supply agreement. The Pfizer jabs have an efficacy rate of 95% in clinical trials and up to 94% in real world use.

"Nag-commit na po ang WHO na darating po iyong 117,000 doses ng Pfizer ngayong Abril, sa susunod na buwan. Kaya malaking bagay din po ito lalung-lalo na para sa ating mga healthcare workers na priority nating matapos hanggang sa buwan ng Abril at Mayo,"  Dizon said in a press briefing.

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The vaccines will be used for healthcare workers, who are on top of the government's priority list of its COVID-19 immunization program, Dizon added.

"Aabot po ang Pfizer. Kung darating po ito ng Abril, base sa pangako ng WHO, aabot po ito para sa ating mga healthcare workers," he said.

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, developed with Germany's BioNTech, is the first to secure emergency use authorization in the Philippines in January.

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The looming arrival of the vaccines will sustain the Philippines' COVID-19 immunization program which is currently being rolled out using donated Sinovac jabs from China, and AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX facility which ensures equitable global access to the much-needed drugs. 

The government aims to vaccinate at least 70 million of its people this year to help end the pandemic that has claimed over 12,000 lives in the country and infected nearly 600,000 people. 

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