Following the arrival on Wednesday of 400,000 additional doses of CoronaVac vaccine developed by Beijing-based Sinovac, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III renewed his call that the existing prioritization framework “must be maintained.”
“We shall see to it that all of our health-care workers, not just in the National Capital Region, but in the whole country, are given the protection they need and deserve for being at the forefront of the battle against the virus,” Duque said.
The health chief said that they are grateful for the arrival of additional donated vaccines from China, the first donation of which totaling 600,000
doses were received last February 28.
“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.
National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said that the arrival of the donated vaccines from China is a “testament that when all nations are working together, we can surmount any challenges ahead.”
“The Philippine government will continue to strengthen its collaboration with China to finally put an end to this pandemic,” Galvez said.
While initial doses from Sinovac and AstraZeneca are currently being rolled out in the county, Galvez is keen on the ongoing negotiations with different pharmaceutical companies, all towards ensuring that the country secures enough doses to vaccinate 70 million of the population in order to achieve herd immunity.
The additional donated CoronaVac vaccines will be instrumental in the country’s ongoing Covid-19 vaccination program, especially at this moment when a persistent increase in cases is being observed.
Moreover, the country is expecting to receive almost 2 million Covid-19 vaccine doses by the end of the month through the government’s negotiations with Sinovac and through the World Health Organization-led Covax Facility, 1 million of which will be procured from China’s Sinovac, while the remaining 979,200 doses are the additional donated AstraZeneca doses through Covax Facility.
Aside from Duque and Galvez, Sen. Christopher Lawrence Go, NTF Deputy Chief Implementer Secretary Vince Dizon, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Ambassador Huang Xilian and other officials from the Inter-Agency Task Group and DOH welcomed the arrival of the additional donated CoronaVac doses at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
Dubbed as “vaccine diplomacy” being waged by China along with Russia, this soft-power arrangement for third world countries apparently aims to undercut what was once America’s global role.
Former National Security Adviser, Hillary Clinton, in a CNN interview on Wednesday, urged the Biden administration to do the same, “and not play catch-up with Russia and China.”
With Recto Mercene
Image credits: MIAA Media Affairs Division