MANILA, Philippines – Around 20,000 doses of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute are expected to be delivered within the next few days, the Philippine ambassador to Russia announced Tuesday.
“My understanding is that we have complied with their requirement because they would not deliver unless they are satisfied with our logistics,” Ambassador Carlos Sorreta said during a Palace briefing.
Sorreta said the initial batch of Sputnik V vaccine doses would be used to “fine-tune” logistics to ensure that the vaccines’ temperature requirement will be met.
Sputnik V vaccine needs to be stored at a temperature of -18 degrees Celsius.
Sorreta also reported that an additional shipment of nearly 500,000 doses will arrive in the Philippines before end of April or early May.
“Over the next few months, we’re going seven figures, about 20 million doses before the end of the year,” he said.
“I think there will be delivery as scheduled based on the agreement signed by (vaccine czar) Secretary (Carlito) Galvez,” he added.
Galvez earlier said that the government is expecting to receive 20 million doses of Sputnik V this year.
Sorreta said the delivery of Sputnik V vaccines to the Philippines took a while due to some issues that needed to be addressed.
“We are happy about this development, although it took a while. It was unavoidable. The FDA, ginagawa nila ang kanilang trabaho ngunit merong konting differences sa terminologies, sa technologies so that those have been overcome,” he said.
He also expressed optimism that the Philippines will get the vaccine supply that the government requires to meet its target inoculation despite the global supply shortage.
“We have to be cognizant of the realities, the demand is very high for the vaccine and the best we can do it to try to lock in the supplies,” he said.
“Of course, we have to manage expectations. There could be problems in production. Many things can come up,” he added.
The country has so far received over 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses made by Sinovac and AstraZeneca firms. More than 1.4 million of these doses have been administered to healthcare workers, senior citizens and persons with co-morbidities.
The government rolled out its COVID-19 vaccination program on March 1 and is targeting to inoculate 70 million people this year.