COVID-19 Crisis: Up to 7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine coming to the Philippines this month

Are you feeling uneasy or anxious about the fact that the millions of vaccines for COVID-19 (China Virus) secured for the Philippines could not come in fast enough? You are not alone.

Are the daily reports of new COVID-19 cases released by the Department of Health (DOH) scaring you? You are not alone as I know someone who is extremely religious yet panicky who gets affected by such reports. Not even the good news of the launch of Sputnik V in the Philippines (check out the Muntinlupa City launch) could lift up that same person’s outlook.

Anyway, the latest COVID-19 vaccine update regarding the Philippines is this…the nation will start receiving the bulk of COVID-19 vaccine composed of up to seven million doses within this month. This was according to vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) reports…

“Ang maganda po dito ‘yong delivery natin ng ano ng May, baka po from 4 million madadagdagan po tayo ng 7 million. Malaki po ‘yon, Mr. President, kasi ang dadagdag po dito ‘yong COVAX mukhang makakapag-deliver na po ng Pfizer at saka ng AstraZeneca (The good news is that, the delivery this May may increase from 4 million doses up to 7 million doses. That’s a huge volume, Mr. President, because the COVAX facility may also be delivering Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines),” Galvez told President Rodrigo Duterte in a Cabinet meeting Wednesday night.

Galvez assured that enough doses dedicated for the vaccinees’ second shots would arrive on time.

“‘Yong second dose wala na po tayong problema. Mayroon po tayong makukuha ngayong May more or less baka mga 1 million or 2 million na AstraZeneca. Iyong definite date lang po ang ina-ano po natin. So matutuwa na po ‘yong mga nakapag-first dose dahil kasi mayroon pong padating na COVAX na AstraZeneca (We don’t have a problem with the second dose. We might be having more or less 1 million or 2 million doses of AstraZeneca this May. We are just working on the definite dates so we are glad because the AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX Facility will be delivered),” he said.

As of May 4, a total of 2,065,235 Filipinos have been vaccinated with at least one dose against Covid-19, with 320,586 persons fully vaccinated.

The bulk of the vaccines will be arriving in June, allowing the government to begin the inoculation of the general populace, Galvez added.

“So pataas po nang pataas ang volume po, Mr. President. Talagang ang medyo nahirapan lang po tayo noong March at saka April. Pero ngayong May medyo mayroon pong bubuhos sa atin (We will be receiving an increased volume of vaccines, we really had hard times during March and April, but this May, more vaccines will be arriving),” he said.

An estimated 20-30 percent of the country’s healthcare workers have yet to be vaccinated, according to Galvez, as they opted to wait for the arrival of other brands of Covid-19 vaccines.

Despite negative reports, Galvez said the public’s acceptance of the Covid-19 vaccines has significantly increased, noting that more Filipinos wanted to get immunized.

To date, data from Our World in Data show that the Philippines is fourth among Southeast Asian nations with the most number of vaccine doses administered.

The report ended stating that as more vaccines arrive, Galvez described as “very doable” is the government’s goal to vaccinate half-a-million people daily.

In closing this, let me ask you readers…do you believe the updates from Galvez? How is the local COVID-19 vaccinating program doing there in your local area? Were you vaccinated already?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

I Love Israel: Direct Philippines-Israel flights before the end of 2021 in the works

Have you been dreaming of visiting the Holy Land or doing business in Tel Aviv in Israel? There is something positive in development right now and breakthroughs could happen before the year ends. This is because recently, Israel’s Ambassador Rafael Harpaz announced that the establishment of direct flights between the Philippines and Israel is being worked on with 2021 in mind (specifically before the end of the year). There is no timeline yet as to when will Philippines-Israel travel will resume but make no mistake that Israel is opening its borders to foreign tourists (who got vaccinated for COVID-19) starting May 23, 2021 which itself is connected with their successful vaccination program.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article. Some parts in bold…

Direct flights between the Philippines and Israel before the end of the year are in the pipeline, Israeli Ambassador to Manila Rafael Harpaz said Friday.

We would like very much for the Filipino tourists to be back to Israel. The Philippine Airlines already informed us that they are planning to start a direct flight to Israel towards the end of the year,” Harpaz told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.

There’s no timeline yet when tourism exchanges between the Philippines and Israel would resume, but he said the deployment of Filipino caregivers continues despite the pandemic.

“Actually, every day we see new caregivers because there is a demand. So they are flying to Israel and when they get there, they also get the vaccine immediately,” Harpaz said. “We don’t have a quota (on deployment) but it depends on the demand. Because our population is getting older and older, the demand is getting high. We also have from other countries but the demand is high for Filipino caregivers.”

In 2019 alone, about 35,000 Filipino tourists visited Israel, while more than 30,000 overseas Filipinos are working there as caregivers.

‘Tourism restart’

At present, there is no agreement between the Philippines and Israel for a travel bubble setup, but Harpaz said he is hopeful that the two nations’ tourism exchanges would soon resume.

He added that several Filipino tour operators are interested to bring travel groups once Israel fully reopens.

“They’re waiting. There’s so many tour operators in the Philippines who are eager to take groups to Israel because it’s a big tourist destination for Filipinos,” Harpaz said. “The Israelis are also eager. The businessmen are eager to return to the Philippines. They want to go to Banawe, Palawan, Siquijor, and all those wonderful places. Let’s hope that it will soon work out.”

Israel is opening up its borders to foreign tourists under a travel bubble setup, with the vaccinated population no longer required to undergo a long period of quarantine.

But for now, the vaccines that Israel recognizes for this arrangement are Pfizer and Moderna.

It has so far signed a travel bubble agreement with Cyprus and Greece.

“We are moving slowly with more countries because we want to have tourism back and business back,” he said.

As you already know, I strongly believe that the ties between my native Philippines and Israel are very essential. I really love it when Israelites and Filipinos are in harmony together, and the fact that Filipino caregivers and students were vaccinated for free in Israel is an example of that. Filipino caregivers have been known to be very helpful towards Israelites and there is a strong demand for more caregivers. Christians here in the Philippines, led by faith, love to visit the Holy Land and discover personally the places where Lord Jesus had been to.

Speaking of Philippines-Israel ties, Ambassador Harpaz also announced more good news for Filipinos struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Posted below is an excerpt from another Philippine News Agency article…

The Philippines can expect to be among the priority countries of Israel once the latter is able to transfer its excess vaccines for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Israel Ambassador to Manila Rafael Harpaz said Friday.

Harpaz explained that Israel, for the time being, could not transport its extra vaccine doses to any third country due to some legal issues in its contract with Pfizer.

“It has nothing to do with the Philippines. Israel, for the time being, was not able to give vaccines to a third country because we have a contract and there are limitations on giving it to a third party,” he told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview on Friday.

Aside from Manila, more than 10 countries have also expressed interest in purchasing their excess vaccines, Harpaz said.

“It’s something we are looking generally in a favorable manner but it’s the legal issues that must be resolved first. But it’s one of the issues in the discussions and when the moment that there would be a green light to give (the vaccines) as assistance to third countries, the Philippines will certainly be among them,” he said.

The Philippines is definitely a high priority for us once we’re capable of giving away the vaccines.

Wow! Considering the current situation here in the Philippines, it’s nice to learn that our country is a high priority for Israel for potential donations of excess vaccines from their own stocks. The legal issues are blocking access. To be very clear, the Philippines secured many millions of COVID-19 vaccines but those stocks cannot come fast enough. Very recently, the cities of Muntinlupa and Parañaque became the first recipients of vaccines from Russia. How many exactly? THREE THOUSAND doses for each city.

In closing this, here are some Israel-related videos for your viewing pleasure and for your insight.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Muntinlupa City to receive 3,000 doses of Sputnik V, Fresnedi thanks national government for the supply

Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi expresses his thanks to the National Task Force Against COVID-19 for allocating some of the county’s initial supply of Sputnik V to Muntinlupa and selecting the city as one of the pilot sites for the roll-out of the Russia-made vaccines.

“We are grateful to the national government for donating COVID-19 vaccines to Muntinlupa and the additional supply will help our ongoing vaccination program. As more vaccines arrive in the city, more residents can be inoculated to reach the target herd immunity,” Fresnedi said.

Muntinlupa expects to receive the 3,000 doses which will be stored in -18 degrees Celsius temperature storage facilities of Ospital ng Muntinlupa (OsMun) and Asian Hospital and Medical Center.

With the cold-chain management requirement of the vaccine, members of priority group in the city will be inoculated in OsMun and Asian Hospital. The vaccine is to be administered in two doses 3 weeks apart.

On Saturday, 15,000 doses of Sputnik V were delivered to the country by a Qatar Airways flight from Moscow via Doha. The initial doses will be divided among five cities in Metro Manila: Taguig, Manila, Parañaque, Muntinlupa, and Makati.

The National Task Force Against COVID-19 says the next batch of 485,000 Sputnik V doses are expected to be delivered in the country within May.

The Food and Drug Administration has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to Sputnik V vaccine manufactured by Russian medical-research institute Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology last March 19, 2021.

Further, the City Government of Muntinlupa is set to open its fourth major vaccination hub in Brgy. Sucat Covered Court today, in addition to existing community vaccination centers.

Other major vaccination hubs launched in the city include: Filinvest Alabang Steel Parking last April 30, SM Center Muntinlupa Open Parking Area, Brgy. Tunasan last April 27 and Ayala Malls South Park, Brgy. Alabang last April 24.

City residents who are not yet registered in the city’s COVID-19 Vaccination Registration System can sign-up via www.vaccine.muntinlupacity.gov.ph/muncovac.

As of May 1, a total of 24,163 Muntinlupa residents were inoculated with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, of which 19,991 received Sinovac and 4,172 inoculated with AstraZeneca. While 843 residents from priority groups received their second dose.

Muntinlupa City has 11,236 confirmed cases with 9,692 recoveries, 1,245 active cases, 299 reported deaths, 172 suspect cases, and 999 probable cases as of May 2.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Philippines to become a new producer of vaccines?

Very recently, the national authorities announced that the grand total of COVID-19 (China Virus) cases in the Philippines had surpassed the 1 million mark, landing at 1,006,428 cases. There will be many millions of new vaccines coming into the country but they just could not come in fast enough.

In recent times, the national government started making a move to become a new player in the production of new vaccines for coronavirus according to National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 chief implementer Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr. He added that this would ensure a steady supply of vaccines not only for this current crisis but also for future health crises.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the story published through Philippine News Agency (PNA). Some parts in bold…

“We are working on building the country’s vaccine sufficiency, particularly our capacity to manufacture and produce our own vaccines not just to address Covid-19 health crisis, but also to prepare for any future pandemic,” Galvez said at a virtual Economic Development Cluster and Infrastructure Cluster forum for the Pre-State of the Nation Address on Monday.

The Philippines is hoping to replicate the Serum Institute of India (SII), India’s largest vaccine producer which produces the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, known in India as Covishield.

Galvez earlier visited India to negotiate with SII for the acquisition of 30 million doses of the Novavax vaccine.

One of the topics tackled during the trip was the possibility to develop local production of vaccines in the Philippines.

“One of our agenda during our trip to India last month was to look into opportunities that will allow us to build on the same vaccine and medicine manufacturing capacity that India has,” Galvez said.

He said he had met with the Department of Science and Technology Sec. Fortunato de la Peña and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez along with the country’s vaccine experts to discuss the plan to establish local vaccine production.

The government targets “to encourage foreign vaccine manufacturers to establish domestic operations” on vaccine production in the Philippines, he said.

“We will achieve vaccine security and partner with domestic and international private pharmaceutical companies in developing our own capability in manufacturing vaccines domestically,” he added. “For 2023, we envision for self-sufficiency and readiness for the pandemic and other disasters with the modernization and integration of our healthcare system.”

With the ongoing negotiations of the Philippines for equitable vaccine acquisition, Galvez said the government has earmarked a total of PHP82.5 billion for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, of which PHP70 billion have been sourced out from various multilateral loans and assumed savings.

As seen above, the Philippines looked to the largest vaccine maker in India as a model for their plan. If vaccine production does push through in the country in the near future, it should create some new jobs and contribute somewhat to the economy. How much would vaccines cost when made here in the Philippines remains to be seen. The same also with how the national government will convince vaccine makers overseas to establish production lines in the country.

Meanwhile, I encourage you my readers to check out how much progress Israel has achieved with regards to combatting COVID-19, normalizing the lives of their people and setting the stage for an economic rebound. In relation to these details, the Jewish State will reopen its borders to foreign visitors who have already been vaccinated. This means visiting the Holy Land is possible once again for all those who seek the Lord. Israel is a bright example for the world and they deserve a lot of praise. Their success was acknowledged by veteran writer Boo Chanco.

Now if only the vaccines the national government paid for will somehow arrive as fast as possible. The Philippines still has a long way to go before achieving herd immunity and having both society and economy rebound at last from the COVID-19 crisis.

By the way, if you are a resident of Las Piñas City or Muntinlupa City, you can get yourselves registered for COVID-19 vaccines by reading the instructions and details here (Las Piñas) and here (Muntinlupa).

If you have something to say about the current situation of COVID-19 vaccines in the country, or within your city or local community, you may contact me directly online or comment below.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com