PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte thanked the international community for donating 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines to the Philippines, saying the assistance to poor nations is a “plus for humanity.”
Duterte expressed his gratitude for the “benevolence” of donor countries after welcoming the arrival of AstraZeneca vaccines from the World Health Organization-led Covax facility at the Villamor Air base in Pasay City on Thursday.
The vaccines delivered to the Philippines on Thursday were developed in South Korea and donated by Germany, the European Union, Norway, France, Australia, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, and Greece.
“I don’t know how to express my gratitude to the donor countries. That you remembered the poor nations is in fact already a plus for humanity,” Duterte said in his speech.
“And in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines and of the people, and all, I’d like to say again that we felt the gratitude in our hearts and may God bless you for your benevolence. Thank you,” he added.
The President said he appreciates the assistance of key partners in the entire international community represented by their ambassadors during the ceremony.
He said the cooperation of the international community in public health was “very much needed” while “positive engagement is very much welcome.”
“These vaccines, manufactured by the [United Kingdom’s] AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University, will further boost our ongoing national vaccination program,” he added.
The Philippines is expected to receive around 44 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine through the Covax facility, a global initiative that guarantees access to Covid-19 vaccines worldwide.
The arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccines came a few days after the country received its first batch of vaccines from China.
The government has started to distribute the doses from Sinovac Biotech to health workers in various government hospitals.
The vaccine supply from Covax is expected to cover at least 20 percent of the country’s population, with medical frontliners, the elderly, and those suffering from co-morbidities as priorities.
To date, the country recorded 584,667 Covid-19 cases, with 535,037 recoveries and 12,404deaths.