MANILA - As the country begins to inoculate minors, the government welcomed on Friday the arrival of 844,800 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines donated by the German government through the COVAX Facility.
The initial shipment from Germany could not have come at a better time, said National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., after the arrival of the vaccines via Emirates Flight EK 332 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay City.
About 800,000 more doses will arrive in the coming days.
"Over 400,000 Filipinos will benefit from these vaccines. This means that more than 400,000 of our countrymen will be saved from severe Covid-19 complications and death," he said in an interview.
Galvez was joined by Alexander Schmidt, deputy head of mission, German Embassy; Maurizio Cellini, head, Trade Section, European Union; Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, World Health Organization (WHO) country representative; Dr. Malalay Ahmadzai, UNICEF Philippines' chief of Health and Nutrition; Victor Sepulveda, head of government affairs, AstraZeneca; and Department of Health Directors Ma. Soledad Antonio and Dr. Ariel Valencia.
"On behalf of the Philippine government, the vaccine cluster and the National Task Force Against Covid 19, I would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the German government, for your generous donation. Through this gesture of goodwill and act of compassion, Germany has shown its unwavering support to the global effort to overcome this life-threatening disease," he added.
Schmidt said the donation proves the strong bond between the Philippines and Germany.
"We're very happy to be able to donate 844,800 doses from Germany to the Philippines. This is a strong sign of solidarity between our two countries and it shows that our joined efforts are very needed in this pandemic," he said.
Abeyasinghe likewise praised the German government for sponsoring the vaccines.
"We want to thank the Federal Republic of Germany for this donation and on behalf of the European Union, which has been a big contributor to the COVAX initiative, we want to thank them," he said.
As of Friday, 90,619,530 Covid-19 vaccine doses have arrived in the country since March.
Also on Friday, 1,700 doses each were given to eight hospitals in Metro Manila for the inoculation of minors aged 15 to 17.
Next month, the vaccination will include those aged 12 to 14.
"With the steady arrival of bigger vaccine deliveries, we are confident that we can vaccinate 50 million Filipinos by year-end and 70 percent of the country's population before next year's national elections," he said. "And with the generous assistance of our foreign partners such as Germany, we believe that we can achieve these goals and have a better Christmas this year." (PNA)