Second batch of AstraZeneca doses arriving on March 7

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 6) — The second batch of doses from AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine via the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility will arrive on Sunday evening, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. announced on Saturday.

Galvez said during a ceremony marking the vaccination of medical frontliners at the Ospital ng Parañaque that the remaining 38,400 doses from the British drugmaker will finally be delivered, three days after the arrival of the first batch.

"I would like to also tell the public na iyong 38,400 po na kulang ay darating po bukas (the remaining 38,400 doses will arrive tomorrow) more or less 7pm," Galvez said.

He added that the remaining doses, which were supposed to be part of the first batch, will arrive on a commercial flight.

"'Yung pangako po ng COVAX na 'yung buong 525,600 ay darating na po, dahil naantala lang kasi commercial plane po ang kanyang ginamit. So buo na po iyon," Galvez said.

[Translation: The promised 525,600 by COVAX will finally arrive, and was just delayed because they used a commercial plane. So that will be completed.]

The Philippines received 487,200 AstraZeneca doses on Thursday, less than the 525,600 doses that the government expected to receive.

RELATED: PH receives nearly half a million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines 

Parañaque city health officer Dra. Olga Virtucio was first to receive the AstraZeneca shot on the first day of its rollout, also making her the first healthcare worker in the country to get a dose from the British drugmaker. Over 200 doses were allocated to Ospital ng Parañaque during the vaccine drive.

In another inoculation drive at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said authorities have started delivering the AstraZeneca vaccines to hospitals Friday night. Cardinal Santos received 500 doses, while the list of other recipients has not been disclosed.

Duque said it will take four to five days to “completely deploy” the AstraZeneca shots.

“Our vaccines are far from complete. They are far from enough,” Duque said, noting that the vaccines the country has so far are only around 30% of what is needed to inoculate more than 1.7 million health care workers alone.

The health chief, who said he may be vaccinated mid-March to give way to health workers, urged frontliners to take whatever’s available, assuring them of the vaccines’ safety and efficacy. He added that health standards should continue to be followed since the vaccines are far from getting into the arms of the general public.

Earlier, 600,000 doses of vaccines donated by the Chinese government were the first to be rolled out, marking the much-awaited inoculation of health workers.

Galvez said over 300,000 doses from China's Sinovac vaccine were already deployed in over 100 hospitals, almost a week after the donation arrived in the country. He added that around 1.6 million doses purchased from Sinovac Biotech will likely be shipped within the month.

The Philippines is also set to receive 4.5 million more doses of AstraZeneca vaccines until May and 117,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines — possibly more — through the COVAX initiative.