The first batch of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine from the Covax Facility will arrive in the country on Thursday, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

PROTECTION IS KEY St. Luke's Medical Center President and CEO Arturo de la Peña, a Covid-19 survivor, is inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine on March 3, 2021. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

“This is to confirm that the Philippines is set to receive 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines tomorrow, March 4, 2021, 7:30 p.m. as part of the first round of allocated doses from the Covax Facility,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said in a statement.

Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, said President Rodrigo Duterte would personally meet the aircraft carrying the vaccine shipment.

“Good news po ‘yan para sa ating mga frontliners dahil mayroon na silang pagpipilian — ‘yung mula po sa Sinovac at ngayon po mayroon na tayong AstraZeneca (That is good news for our frontliners because they now have choices — we have Sinovac and now we have this vaccine from Astrazeneca),” he added.

Roque said the shipment’s expected time of arrival is based on the scheduled handover of vaccines.

“We will notify everyone, if and when there is a change of schedule,” he added.

Some 525,600 AstraZeneca vaccine doses were supposed to arrive in the country on

Monday, but the shipment encountered delay due to “supply problems.”

Roque earlier said the first batch of shipment “forms part of the 44 million doses of Covax to inoculate 20 percent of our population.”

“We are grateful to everyone — from our medical frontliners to our fellow Filipinos and foreign partners — who stand by us in this challenging time,” Roque said.

“Together, we will heal and recover as one nation and one people,” the Palace official added.

The Philippines stands to get 9.4 million doses from AstraZeneca and US drugmaker Pfizer-BioNTech through the Covax Facility, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. had said.

Meanwhile, 117,000 doses will come from Pfizer-BioNTech.

The country’s Food and Drug Administration have previously granted emergency use authorizations to both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.

The Philippines started its vaccination drive on Monday, a day after the arrival of 600,000 doses from Chinese firm Sinovac.