MANILA — Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jojo Garcia said on  April 8, the National Capital Region (NCR) could ramp up vaccinations by up to 120,000 per day once the Philippines receives a “steady supply” of COVID-19 vaccines.

“In NCR alone, we can do at least 120,000 vaccinations per day,” Garcia said in a briefing hosted by the Department of Health (DOH), noting local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila have been efficient in rolling out vaccines so far.

Garcia is also confident that 70 percent of NCR residents could get their first dose in about four months.

“This is for when we receive the bulk of vaccines because right now, we still need to follow the priority list, meaning ordinary people can’t get vaccinated yet,” he explained.

Garcia also noted that Metro Manila Mayors welcomed the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decision to allow the use of China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine on senior citizens.

Several LGUs halted their inoculation of senior citizens due to a lack of AstraZeneca vaccines.

Currently, individuals belonging to the top three priority groups of health workers, senior citizens and persons with comorbidities are qualified to receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to the supply shortage.

In a report by GMA News, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said that the general public’s inoculation could begin by late April or early May as the government expects to receive the bulk of vaccines in the second half of 2021.

As of April 6, more than 922,000 individuals have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Moderna, Pfizer coming to PH as supply stabilizes

In another report by GMA News, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez said on April II, that Pfizer and Moderna will be able to deliver their COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines “not too far away.”

Romualdez noted that by May 2021, the US will be able to complete its supply of COVID-19 vaccines for its citizens and succeeding productions will be for export already.

“Yan ang inaasahan natin. Pero ayaw nila mag-commit 100 percent na ganun ang mangyayari,” he said, hoping the Philippines will receive an early delivery of at least three to five million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

According to Galvez, the US State Department previously committed the early delivery of either Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines by May.

“In addition to the 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna ordered by the Philippine government, another five million doses are expected to be delivered” Galvez added.

Moreover, Romualdez said there is also a big chance that the Philippines will receive “huge doses” of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX facility, a globally-pooled vaccine procurement and distribution effort co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Gavi Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

Pfizer doses allocated to 47 countries including the Philippine will arrive in the second quarter

In another report by Reuters, The Gavi Vaccine Alliance said on April 12, that 47 countries will receive some 14.1 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine in the second quarter of this year.

According to Gavi, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, and Ukraine are among the main recipients of the Pfizer jab between April and June.

“The COVAX program offers a lifeline to low-income countries in particular, allowing them to inoculate health workers and others at high risk, even if their governments have not managed to secure vaccines from the manufacturers,” the report noted.

Meanwhile, deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine to 142 participants under a previously announced round have been delayed and deliveries may extend past May as supplies are being kept at the Serum Institute of India where daily infections is spiraling.

Gavi CEO Seth Berkley on April 9, said that the COVAX facility aimed to deliver one-third of a billion COVID-19 doses by mid-2021, on the way to more than the two billion in 2021.