The initial rollout of Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccines in the Philippines will be done in the country’s capital region, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Some 15,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccines are expected to arrive in the country tomorrow, April 28.

In a virtual presser, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said Metro Manila residents would be the first recipients of the vaccine.

“Sa Metro Manila po (unang ide-deploy ang Sputnik V), dahil nga po sa cold storage requirement niya na -20°C,” he said.

Sinovac and AstraZeneca—vaccines the country has earlier deployed, do not require subzero storage temperatures.

Sputnik V, developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Russia, requires storage in facilities with temperatures of -18°C.

About 500,000 doses of the Russian vaccines are expected to arrive by May. The number is expected to reach 20 million by yearend.

Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte would not be the one to receive the first tranche of Sputnik V vaccines, which were part of a “trial order.”

“Wala po sa schedule niya ano, pero ang darating po bukas ay kakaunti pa lang 15,000 pa lang,” he said.

“So titingnan po natin kung magkakaroon ng schedule ang Pangulo na sumalubong kapag dumating na iyong bulto ng Sputnik V. Inaasahan pa po natin ang mga 485,000 Sputnik V nitong buwan na ito.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found Sputnik V vaccines to be 91-percent effective. John Ezekiel J. Hirro