Duterte thanks US for donated 3M Moderna vax, says shots will be given to poor Filipinos

Robie de Guzman   •   August 4, 2021   •   314

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte thanked the government of the United States for the three million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine it donated to the Philippines.

Duterte, along with some Cabinet officials, personally welcomed the arrival of the vaccines on Tuesday at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.

The Moderna vaccines donated by the US were coursed through the World Health Organization-led COVAX Facility.

“I wish to thank the United States for the generosity in sharing various COVID-19 assistance to the Philippines,” Duterte said in his speech during the arrival of the vaccine.

“I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the COVAX facility for the continuous donation of these vaccines. We look forward to the delivery of even more life-saving vaccines in the country very soon,” he added.

Duterte also thanked the US for the donations of key medical supplies and equipment and the provision of institutional support to the government’s COVID-response.

“All of these have helped, definitely will continue to help the Filipino people. Indeed, the cooperation between the Philippines and US in overcoming the pandemic highlights the strong and deep friendship between the two countries,” he said.

Duterte said the latest shipment of Moderna vaccine shots will be used to immunize poor Filipinos.

He said this is following America’s sentiment that its donation should go first to those who have the least in life.

“And for those, well, who do not want to be vaccinated, we will try to entice them with the vaccines given by the United States,” he added.

The Philippines has so far received a total of 34.2 million coronavirus vaccine doses.

It also expects to get 22.7 million coronavirus jabs for the month of August, as announced earlier by vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.

Prior to the arrival of Moderna vaccines, the US also donated 3.2 million doses of single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the Philippines.

As of August 2, over 21.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the country while 9.3 million people have been fully immunized.

Philippines, Malaysia to boost bilateral ties amid easing pandemic situation – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2021

 MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is looking to bolster its ties with Malaysia amid improving COVID-19 situation in Southeast Asia, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.

In a statement, the DFA said that the department’s Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Neal Imperial met with Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Norman bin Muhammad last Oct. 18.

Among the things discussed by the two officials were initiatives seeking to revitalize the two nations’ relations across all areas amid easing coronavirus pandemic situation, it added.

“The two officials exchanged views and proposals on how to further boost bilateral trade and investment, address the COVID-19 pandemic, and roll out post-pandemic recovery initiatives, including the careful reopening of borders to gradually revitalize business and two-way tourism,” the DFA said.

The department said that both parties have also discussed counterterrorism cooperation, the promotion of moderate Islam in predominantly Muslim areas, as well as Malaysia’s support for the development of Mindanao.

The two officials also agreed to continue working together to further enhance Philippines-Malaysia bilateral ties, and explore the possibility of reconvening high-level bilateral meetings early next year.

Despite the effects of the pandemic, Malaysia remains one of the Philippines’ top trading partners and investment sources.

During their meeting, Imperial also conveyed the congratulations of the Philippine Government to Malaysia’s newly elected government, the DFA said.

PH to raise daily vaccination target to 1.5 million doses

Robie de Guzman   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is eyeing to raise its daily vaccination target to 1.5 million jabs amid the arrival of more COVID-19 vaccine doses.

In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte in a taped public briefing aired late Tuesday, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the continuous delivery of vaccine supplies in the country will allow the government to shift its focus to inoculating as much of the willing general population.

Galvez, who is also the National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer, said that for the first half of October alone, 20 million vaccine doses have already been delivered under government and private sector procurements, as well as donations.

The World Health Organization-led COVAX facility delivered 7.3 million doses for this month, which is one of its biggest vaccine donations to the Philippines to date, he added.

Galvez also reported that apart from the COVAX facility, the United States also donated 6.4 million Pfizer jabs while Germany gave 884, 800 AstraZeneca doses.

Both the US and Germany have committed to donate more in the coming months, he added.

At this rate, the vaccine czar said that achieving 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses delivery before end-October is “on track” and that vaccine supply shortage “is no longer an issue” with more than 38 million doses are safely stored in cold chain storage warehouses.

With the abundance of vaccine supply, Galvez said the government can now shift its attention to recalibrating its vaccine deployment strategy to inoculate the general population, including children, before the year ends.

The national government is aiming to vaccinate at least 50 million individuals this year.

As of Monday, a total of 24,498,753 have been fully vaccinated or 31.76 percent of the total vaccination target.

October hits biggest supply of COVID-19 vaccines — Galvez

Maris Federez   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The country has, so far, received the biggest supply of vaccines against coronavirus disease in October, having recorded 20 million vaccine doses delivered for this month alone.

“Sir, marami pong magandang balita po sa October, it’s the biggest supply delivery from Pfizer, Moderna, and COVAX, and Sputnik. As we have said earlier, almost 92 million doses already been delivered,” said NTF COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. during Monday’s Talk to the Nation of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Galvez said the country received the biggest delivery from the COVAX facility for having delivered 7.3 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines.

This is composed of 6.4 million doses of Pfizer vaccine as donations from the United States government and 844,800 from the German donation.

“The German ambassador told us that they will add more to make it 1.6 million AstraZeneca [as] donation,” Galvez added.

Another 2 million vaccine doses will be given by the US totaling approximately 18 million delivered though the COVAX facility.

The vaccine czar said that the arrival of 20 million vaccine doses this month is the biggest so far, surpassing September deliveries of 19 million doses.

“So, the achieving of 100 million doses delivery before the end of October is on track. And right now, the supply is not anymore an issue. We have more than 38 million doses in our warehouses,” he said.

The official noted the efforts contributed by the World Health Organization and the UNICEF for the significant deliveries made by the COVAX facility.

“It already accounted for 24.3 million doses and the majority of which are coming from the US donation. Total na po ng US natin ngayon 16 [million doses], plus iyong promise po na additional sa 18 [million] and other countries are expected to donate this October,” Galvez added. —/mbmf

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