The Philippines on Wednesday morning welcomed an additional 75,000 doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine donated both by the Qatar government and Sinovac Biotech.
The vaccine doses arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 past 11 a.m.
Of the 75,000 doses, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said 50,000 doses were donated by the Qatar government, while the remaining 25,000 doses were from the Sinovac Biotech.
Qatar Ambassador to the Philippines Dr. Ali Ibrahim Al-Malki said the Qatar government's vaccine donation to the Philippines was worth US$45,000.
“This is one of our donations to the Philippines. Philippines is an important country for us and it’s our friend country, and you know Qatar, they support our friend. This is the US$45,000 of donation for the Republic of the Philippines,” he said.
Meanwhile, NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the additional Sinovac vaccines will help in ramping up the COVID-19 inoculation drive in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) where vaccine coverage is still trailing among all regions in the country.
“We would like to thank the Qatari government for this donation of Sinovac vaccines. This is very, very important for us considering that the President has ordered the BARMM government to push up the coverage of their vaccination,” Galvez said.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday ordered the BARMM officials to make sure the COVID-19 vaccination rate in the region will pick up in the coming weeks.
The Health Department earlier said the government is no longer procuring certain COVID-19 vaccine brands from other countries and is now streamlining the list of remaining vaccines that are set to be reduced to two to three brands soon.
Other officials present during the arrival were Department of Health Director Maria Soledad Antonio, Climate Change Commission vice chairman Secretary Robert Borje, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary Alfonso Ver, and DFA Assistant Director Louie Belleza.
Based on the Department of Health’s latest data, at least 66.2 million Filipinos or about 74% of the government’s 90 million target population are already fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, some 12.2 million individuals have received their booster shots.
The government is eyeing to fully vaccinate 90 million by the time Duterte steps down from office. — RSJ, GMA News