President Rodrigo Roa Duterte expressed his gratitude Monday to the Biden administration for committing 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, seen to greatly help the government’s mass immunization drive in the midst of the presence of a more contagious coronavirus variant.
“Nagpapasalamat tayo. I’d like to thank President of the United States, si Biden, the government and the people of America for not forgetting us,” President Duterte said during a public address on government response to the pandemic.
“Do not forget us because we share the same outlook sa geopolitics dito sa — especially in Southeast Asia.”
The United States donated 3 million doses of Moderna vaccine through the COVAX vaccine-sharing program led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and GAVI.
The President said he made a concession and considered the continuance of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) following a meeting with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last week.
Meanwhile, President Duterte made an assurance that all regions and provinces will get the vaccines they need, explaining, however, that in the meantime, the government prioritizes sending the jabs to hotspots, where there are large number of COVID-19 infections and increased hospitalizations.
He also appealed for public patience, saying the government’s major challenge is securing vaccine supplies as nations scramble to fill up inventories for their respective populations.
“Ang problema talaga ng Pilipinas ay wala tayong supply na maganda kasi kung mayroon, maibigay na natin sa lahat,” he said.
“I-una natin ‘yung mga mainit na lugar tapos as the supplies come in, we are buying, we have the money, Secretary Dominguez assured us, we are buying. Parami nang parami ‘yan, it will be distributed to all of the local government units, including the far-flung areas na hindi na maabot. We will see to it.”
The Philippines has so far received a total of 34.2 million coronavirus vaccine doses and expects to get 22.7 million coronavirus jabs for the month of August, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said in a report to President Duterte.
To meet the growing monthly demand for vaccines in the regions and provinces across the country, the government must strive to deliver 25 million coronavirus vaccine doses monthly, he added.
Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, also reported that more than 9 million Filipinos are now fully protected against COVID-19 as a result of the country’s aggressive vaccination program.
He said the Philippines has administered 20.8 million vaccine doses, in which more than 11 million individuals have received the first jab, while 9.1 million have completed the two doses.
This makes up 12.87 percent of the targeted eligible population or 8.21 percent of the entire Philippine population, he explained.
The vaccine czar also pointed out a significant increase in Philippines’ daily jabs, noting a weekly average of 523,000 doses with 3.6 million doses administered in the last seven days. PND