MANILA, Philippines A Palace official confirmed that the initial shipment of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine is set to arrive in the Philippines soon.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, a total of 600,000 doses of CoronaVac from Chinas pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech will be arriving on Sunday (February 28).
The official thanked China for its donations which will be used in the initial vaccine rollout of the government. 
Concerned officials from the national government will be welcoming the arrival of the vaccines in person on Sunday.
“Inaasahan na darating ang araw ng linggo, itong araw ng linggo pong ito ang Sinovac kaya po excited na tayong lahat,” Roque said.
“Inaasahan po at at least pinaplano natin na sasalubunin po ng mga opisyal ang pagdating ng mga bakuna,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said the vaccines serve as ‘testament’ to the two countries’ diplomatic relationship.
“It is a fine tradition between China and the Philippines to help each other in trying times. A friend in need is a friend indeed. The donation of vaccines is another testament to the solidarity as well as profound friendship and partnership between our two peoples and two countries,” he said.
With the arrival of CoronaVac supplies, the government is expected to begin the roll out of COVID-19 immunization on Monday (March 1) with medical frontliners as the among the initial priorities despite advised from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the vaccine is not advisable for individuals with high exposure to COVID-19 positive cases.
First in the line to get the COVID-19 vaccine shot will be the spokesperson of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and COVID-19 survivor, Dr. Jonas del Rosario.
What we need is one day and we will roll out. So if it arrives on Sunday, if Im not mistaken, we can rollout on Monday dahil excited na excited na po ang maraming kababayan natin, Roque said.
The Palace official stressed, meanwhile, that the public should look into the positive side of vaccination regardless of which brand as long as it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as it can help address the current problems in relation to the pandemic.
But according to Dr. Garardo Legaspi, Director of UP-PGH, the initial survey among their staff revealed that about 90% of the hospitals healthcare workers pre-registered and agreed to get a vaccine shot.
Although the survey, however, offered them Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and not the Chinese brand.
Hindi ko masasabi kung ilan ang darating talaga. We are trying to manage the understanding of the EUA given to Sinovac kaya po siguro over the next few days, kailangan naming i-thresh out ang ibig sabihin ng fda na mas magiging very useful for our health workers to make their decision, Legaspi explained.
The other survey, meanwhile, revealed that 75% of the staff agreed to be vaccinated regardless of brand.
Hindi naman porket nabakunahan ng this particular vaccine na Sinovac ay walang proteksyon. Ang ibig lang sabihin, ang proteksyon niya ay hindi as high to prevent mild symptoms from occurring, which probably magiging dahilan ito para hindi makapasok ang healthcare workers sa ospital, Legaspi noted.
Siguro iyon ang basis ng FDA para sabihin na hindi siya ideal para sa healthcare workers dahil kahit mild symptom, hindi sila papasok pag nagkaroon sila ng mild symptom at mababawasan ang manpower sa ating ospital, he added.
Legaspi further said that so far, all the vaccines which the FDA has granted approval Sinovac, Pfizer and Astrazeneca promise 100 percent protection against severe conditions related to COVID-19. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)