By Andreo Calonzo
The Philippines is expecting most of its 17 million AstraZeneca Plc. COVID-19 vaccine orders manufactured in Thailand to arrive this year, following a brief delay in the initial shipments.
A batch of nearly 1.2 million AstraZeneca shots ordered by Philippine businesses will be shipped in mid-July rather than this month, according to presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, who’s leading the country’s private sector efforts to buy vaccines.
“It is minor. It’s not something that will derail our vaccinations,” Concepcion said in a phone interview, adding that the delay would allow companies more time to convince their employees to get vaccinated. Most of the remaining doses are expected to land in the Philippines in 2021, he said.
The country is expecting that all 17 million AstraZeneca shots bought by businesses and local governments will be delivered by the second quarter of next year, the country’s vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said at a Senate hearing Tuesday.
The late initial delivery comes as Thailand’s own inoculation drive is trailing its target, partly due to a domestic vaccine shortage, and as Reuters reported this month that Malaysia and Taiwan were expecting deliveries of Thai-made AstraZeneca shots to be delayed.
AstraZeneca has faced questions around the world about its deliveries, with the European Union telling a court last month that the vaccine maker should pay multimillion-euro daily penalties if it failed to deliver shots on time. Its Indian manufacturer, Serum Institute of India Ltd., has also had to scale back its production target due to a lag in approvals.
© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.