MANILA – A total of 400,000 vaccine doses of Chinese-donated CoronaVac arrived in Manila on Wednesday morning, securing enough doses for about 200,000 medical front-liners in the Philippines.
The Philippine Airlines flight carrying the second batch of donations landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 around 7:23 a.m.
In a statement, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said this latest aid brings to 1 million the total jabs donated by Beijing, which reflects the “closer friendship and partnership” between the two nations.
“We hope we will continue to speed up the mass vaccination in this country so that you will win over the war against the virus and allow the economic recovery at an early date,” he told reporters in an interview.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Covid-19 testing czar and National Task Force (NTF) deputy chief implementer Secretary Vince Dizon, and Senator Christopher Lawrence Go witnessed the arrival and collectively extended gratitude to China on behalf of the Philippine government.
Both Duque and Go said the aid would benefit medical front-liners who need the immediate immunization the most.
“It would go a long way in giving protection to our people in general and our healthcare workers in particular. It’s going to help us because the healthcare workers are the ones taking care of the patients and cases, which has increased over the last month so the priority is them,” Duque said.
Duque underscored the need to maintain the growing confidence for the CoronaVac vaccines, which he said has “improved tremendously” since the first batch’s arrival.
“We have to maintain that confidence, that growing confidence for the Sinovac vaccines so we are appreciative of these vaccines. We’ll consume as quickly as possible these vaccines,” he said.
“The arrival of these vaccines could not have occurred at a more opportune time considering the continued rise in cases, which in turn increases the need to inoculate more high-risk individuals as soon as possible,” Duque said in a news release.
Go, meanwhile, said the government’s first procurement will arrive on March 29, to be received by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.
Dizon said most of the newly-arrived CoronaVac doses will be allocated for Metro Manila and the provinces of Laguna, Bulacan, Cavite, and Rizal where surges in cases have been recorded.
After disinfection at the NAIA, the crates carrying the vaccines were transported to the Metropac Movers, Inc. in Marikina City for storage.
The country is expected to receive almost 2 million vaccine doses — one million are procured from Sinovac and 979,200 AstraZeneca doses from COVAX Facility by the end of the month. (PNA)