President Rodrigo Roa Duterte welcomed the arrival Sunday of the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Chinese drugmaker Sinovac Biotech, hoping to turn the tide against the pandemic that has slowed the economy and impacted on people’s lives.
A Chinese military aircraft carrying 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City Sunday afternoon.
“With this very important shipment, I am confident that more batches of vaccines will be available with great dispatch until every Filipino will be given the chance to be vaccinated at the earliest possible opportunity,” President Duterte said in an address during the handover rites.
“I wish to assure the public that your government remains committed to a timely [vaccine] rollout that will enable us to confidently reopen our society.”
The President hopes the delivery of the first batch of vaccine donated by China will serve as a guarantee to everyone that the administration is taking a big step in its efforts to overcome the health crisis.
As the government prepares for the distribution of the vaccine, President Duterte directed all concerned agencies to institutionalize the whole-of-government approach in the vaccine rollout.
Addressing the country’s medical frontliners, he said, “Allow me to take this opportunity to thank you for your valuable and selfless contribution in the fight against COVID-19.”
“We recognize the profound sacrifices you continue to make every single day, even at the cost of being away from your loved ones and risking your precious lives just to take care of the sick,” he added, assuring the frontliners that the government will always be by their side and ready to extend assistance.
Rallying support for the impending mass vaccination program, the President appealed to Filipinos to set aside their fears, stressing the vaccines are backed by science and they underwent deliberation by the experts.
He encouraged the people to get vaccinated as soon as possible especially when the COVID-19 jabs reach their localities. He wanted the people to become government’s partner in its thrust to prevent the further spread of the virus.
Extending his sincere gratitude to the Chinese government and people, the chief executive said the donation is a gesture of friendship and solidarity – the hallmark of Philippines-China partnership.
“And I would like to personally thank Ambassador Huang Xilian for helping ensure the timely delivery of this donation,” he told the Chinese envoy, who was present during the event.
The President likewise thanked Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the country’s vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19. He also recognized the contributions of other government officials who work tirelessly to address the current scourge.
President Duterte also reiterated that COVID-19 vaccine should be treated as a global public good and be made available to all countries, underscoring that no nation or people should be left to suffer the ravages of the pandemic.
“Comprehensive global recovery hinges on equal and easy access by everyone to life-saving vaccine. Because, at the end of the day, as repeatedly said, no one is safe until everyone is safe,” he said. PND