The Philippines is donating $1 million to the COVAX facility, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte announced on Monday, highlighting the importance of the global vaccine sharing initiative in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).“Magko-contribute po ako kasi napakabuti ng COVAX sa atin. At the time we needed it most, one of the earliest agencies to help us aside from the contributions made by China,” President Duterte said during his weekly public address.
“We were recipients of COVAX vaccines many times and it has helped a lot in our desire to vaccinate Filipinos. Ngayon sila naman ang nagkulang ng pera, maybe because they are helping other nations all over the world.”
The Philippines, being a beneficiary of COVAX’s generosity and because of its desire to help people, the country will answer its pleadings for donations, the President said.
“The Philippines is giving $1 million. So ‘yan ho ang ano natin it’s — it’s our turn also to return the goodwill that they have shown,” he said.
In his report to the President, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the COVAX facility delivered in May 2,030,400 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine and 193,050 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech.
The country has so far secured a total inventory of 8.3 million doses, said Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19.
This month, Pfizer will send an additional 2.2 million doses and AstraZeneca 2 million doses through COVAX, Galvez reported, noting the Philippines could have more or less 10 million vaccine doses this June including those being procured by the government and the private sector.
“So nakikita po natin aarangkada po tayo sa June kaya puwede po tayong mag-open sa ating mga A4 at saka A5, just in case na ma-saturate na po natin ‘yong tinatawag nating A2 at saka po ‘yong A3,” he told the President.
COVAX is a partnership between the World Health Organization (WHO) and two international groups – the Gavi vaccine alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) – aimed at sending vaccines to developing countries.
The global vaccine-sharing program also aims to provide two billion vaccine doses to people in 190 countries this year, immunizing at least 20 percent of the population.
Funded mostly by high-income countries and international organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, COVAX facility also eyes to send vaccines to 92 lower-income countries at no cost. PND