Some three million more doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine donated by the United States arrived in the country on Tuesday.
The shipment containing 3,000,060 doses landed at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City at around 5:30 p.m.
President Rodrigo Duterte, along with some members of the national pandemic response task force and the US embassy in Manila, personally welcomed the donations, which were coursed through the COVAX Facility co-led by the World Health Organization.
In his speech during the ceremonial turnover, Duterte said the vaccines will be allocated to indigent Filipinos.
“I know that it is the sentiment of America that the vaccines that will be given to the Philippines should go first to those who have least in life — ‘yung mga mahihirap [the poor ones],” he said.
“Rest assured, everybody will follow that directive,” he added.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año earlier said the vaccines may be part of those to be distributed in Metro Manila, which will return to the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) starting August 6 amid rising COVID-19 cases.
The latest delivery is the second tranche of US vaccine donations, which now add up to around 6.2 million doses. The first, which came in July, consisted of a total of 3.2 million single-shot vaccines manufactured by Johnson & Johnson.
US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law said the US will continue to work with the Philippines “to make safe, effective vaccines widely available.”
This August, the country expects to receive a total of 22.7 million coronavirus shots — both donated and procured — from different vaccine brands, according to Malacañang.
A million more doses from Sinovac will be delivered within the first week of the month, followed by another 7.4 million in the next three weeks.
Some 800,000 shots of the Pfizer vaccine, 1.1 million of the AstraZeneca, and one million of the Sinopharm are also scheduled to reach the country by next week.
The arrival date of the rest of the shipments will still be announced.
As of August 2, government data showed some 20.8 million doses have been administered nationwide.