487,200 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses to arrive Thursday – Palace

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 3)— After a slight delivery delay, the much-awaited coronavirus vaccines from British-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca are set to arrive on Thursday evening, Malacañang said.

In a statement Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that the country will receive 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines – the initial shipment of allocated products coming from the COVAX facility.

“AstraZeneca’s expected time of arrival is based on the scheduled handover of vaccines. We will notify everyone, if and when there is a change of schedule,” Roque said in a statement.

President Rodrigo Duterte is also set to personally welcome the arrival of the shipment from COVAX, his former special assistant Senator Bong Go said in a separate statement.

The country was supposed to receive on Monday 525,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but the Health Department said the shipment would be delayed amid global supply shortage.

Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the World Health Organization country representative, earlier explained in an interview with CNN Philippines it was an issue of logistics. Logistical arrangements for the delivery of the COVAX-supplied vaccines are being coordinated with humanitarian aid organization United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund or UNICEF, according to Abeyasinghe.

Aside from the AstraZeneca doses, the country is also set to receive shots from Pfizer. Abeyasinghe had said that the Philippines has already complied with the requirements to secure the shipment, but that access to Pfizer supply has been a challenge.

READ: Logistics, supply access problems hamper delivery of COVAX-supplied vaccines to PH – WHO official

The COVAX facility is an initiative led by the WHO, along with the vaccine alliance Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. It seeks to provide participating countries equitable access to coronavirus vaccines.