The Philippines on Friday received its first shipment of the single-dose Johnson&Johnson COVID-19 vaccine -- a donation by its long-time ally the United States, through the global vaccine-sharing platform COVAX.
An initial 1,606,600 doses of the vaccine called Janssen, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Friday afternoon. The second shipment of 1,606,600 doses is set to arrive on Saturday.
The jabs are part of the total 55 million that the U.S. donated via COVAX led by the World Health Organization to different countries. The U.S. has allocated some 80 million vaccines for the rest of the world to end the pandemic.
While this is the first time that the Philippines gets a hold of the Janssen vaccine, the drug has been granted authorization for emergency use in the country since April.
The single-shot vaccine, reported effective against the highly contagious Delta variant, is a welcome addition to the Philippines' vaccine portfolio as neighboring Southeast Asian nations such as Indonesia and Thailand struggle with renewed surges in COVID-19 cases.
So far, the Philippines has fully vaccinated some four million people against COVID-19, versus the targets of 50 million this year for population protection, or 70 million for herd immunity.