Lack of flights delays Sputnik vaccine shipment
President Rodrigo Duterte said the delay in the delivery of Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccines was due to lack of direct flights from Moscow to Manila, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.
“Iyong dynamics sa delivery ng mga bakuna, ‘yong sabi na hirap tayo sa mga pagdala kasi wala namang eroplano na makuha natin direct Russia – Philippines, China – Philippines (The dynamics in the delivery of vaccines, we’re having difficulty sending a plane because there are no direct flights from Russia to the Philippines, China to the Philippines),” he said in a pre-recorded meeting with Cabinet officials.
Duterte said the cold storage requirements of the vaccines also made it hard to transport them since they should be stored with a temperature not exceeding negative-18 degrees Celsius.
“Maraming daanan, it’s transshipment. Dito lang hanggang Hong Kong tapos ilipat. So that’s why sabi niya nahihirapan tayo minsan mag-tailor ng saan natin ipadaan sa madaling panahon and that the integrity o ‘yong bisa ng bakuna is protected (It has to pass through a lot of places. Here to Hong Kong then it transfers. So that’s why he’s saying we’re having difficulty getting it delivered in the soonest possible time while making sure that the effectiveness of the vaccine is protected),” he added.
In the same meeting, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the first batch of 15,000 doses of Sputnik vaccine may arrive by May 1 if they do not encounter any other problems.
He said carriers Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have volunteered to transport the vaccines with a direct flight from Moscow to Manila.
On top of the initial batch, the Philippines is also expecting 485,000 more doses of Sputnik V.
Russia is the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a Covid-19 vaccine.
Based on human trials of the shot, Russian developers said Sputnik V was found to be 91.4 percent effective in providing protection from Covid-19.