The Philippines on Wednesday morning received an additional 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine donated by the Australian government.
The vaccines arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 past 9:30 a.m. through Flight CX907.
Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson said the vaccine doses came from their government’s domestic supplies.
“Overall we’ll have 3.6 million coming into the Philippines–2.2 million doses from Australia’s domestic supplies and 1.4 million doses coming through UNICEF for the Philippines,” he said.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III thanked the Australian government for its generosity and friendship, saying that this is a substantial donation to the Philippines.
He emphasized that the Philippine government would still prioritize giving the target population the primary dose series more than the booster shots.
“Our policy continues that we would much rather provide the primary series, the first dose, to the unvaccinated more than the booster because you know, science says it that the protection that the population gets by inoculating everyone rather than doing boosting is going to be much higher and a much more sound policy,” Duque said.
The Health secretary also encouraged everyone to get their jabs against the COVID-19 during the three-day National Vaccination drive dubbed “Bayanihan, Bakunahan,” set from November 29 to December 1.
“This protection is really going to be key to opening up larger segments of our economy and to bring back jobs and reverse the hunger rate [which] is quite high. So, all of these will be impacted upon once we have a much bigger percentage of vaccinated.”
The government is eyeing to administer five million doses everyday or 15 million doses by the end of the drive. This is part of the goal to vaccinate 70% of the entire population by year end.
As of Monday, DOH said that about 33.3 million individuals or 39% of the eligible population in the country are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19.
Also present during the arrival were Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., Health Undersecretary Ma. Carolina Vidal-Taino, and Head of Government Affairs for Astrazeneca Philippines Victor Sepulveda.
The DOH on Tuesday recorded 1,153 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the nationwide tally to 2,827,820. Of which, 2,761,617 have recovered while 195 new fatalities pushed the death toll to 47,482.–AOL, GMA News