© Photo courtesy: Ambassador Chito Sta. Romana Officials from the Philippine Embassy in Beijing, China inspect one million doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines in a Beijing warehouse on June 3, 2021 prior to shipment to Manila. The vaccines arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Sunday, June 6, 2021. Photo courtesy: Ambassador Chito Sta. Romana

More doses of CoronaVac vaccine from Sinovac firm will arrive in the country next week to augment the vaccine drive against COVID-19 in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said Sunday.

“Sa July 14, may darating tayo na Sinovac para tuloy-tuloy ang pagbabakuna sa NCR Plus 8. (On July 14, Sinovac doses will arrive to continue vaccination efforts in the NCR Plus 8 areas,” Cabotaje, chief of national vaccination operations center, told “Dobol B TV.”

NCR Plus 8 refers to Metro Manila, Pampanga, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao.

However, the national government has included the cities of Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan De Oro, Baguio, Zamboanga, Dumaguete, Tuguegarao, General Santos, Naga, and Legazpi in the list of priority areas.

Meanwhile, Cabotaje said 1.1 million doses of AstraZeneca donated by the Japanese government have already been deployed to Metro Manila Plus 8 areas.

On July 8, the donated 1,124,100 AstraZeneca vaccine doses arrived in the country. 

“Sa NCR Plus 8 kasi wala na maiturok sa NCR (NCR has run out of supply). About 90 percent of vaccines for NCR, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Calabarzon… those populated areas, highly urbanized areas, Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, and Rizal,” she said.

Also, of the  2.028 million AstraZeneca doses from COVAX facility, 1.5 million were used for the second dose, she said, adding that 500,000 doses will be used for the first dose.

To recall, the Philippines received more than 2 million AstraZeneca shots on July 9.

Last week, the Department of Health  said that a total of 12,703,081 doses various anti-COVID vaccines have been administered in the country.

But the Philippines has so far fully inoculated only 4.5% or 3.2 million of its 70 million target population. —LBG, GMA News