Joint press release of the Department of Health, World Health Organization and UNICEF
3 August 2021, Manila – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte welcomed the arrival of 3 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines from the US Government through the COVAX Facility, as the country braces for a hard lockdown in the capital Manila to stem the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
The most recent arrival brings the total of COVAX donations to the Philippines to 13.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Of these, 6 million doses were donated by the US Government as part of its global vaccine-sharing strategy, which aims to provide at least 80 million vaccine doses to countries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are thankful to the COVAX Facility and our partners from the US Government for these additional COVID-19 vaccines. As we implement a stricter quarantine classification in Metro Manila, we will continue to ramp up our national vaccination program and aim to increase coverage among our senior citizens and persons with underlying medical conditions. Vaccinating those in the high-risk group would help prevent the overwhelming of our hospitals,” said Secretary of Health Francisco T. Duque III.
The Philippine Government has ramped up its vaccination campaign, reaching more than 500,000 inoculations daily. Since March 2021, over 84 percent of healthcare workers (A1 group), 32 percent of senior citizens (A2 group), and 48 percent of people with comorbidities* are fully vaccinated. However, less than 5 percent of essential workers (A4 group) and 2 percent of the indigent population (A5 group) have been fully inoculated.
The Department of Health announced its accelerated vaccination plan during the hard lockdown, which includes strict scheduling/pre-registration, alternative modes of transportation for vaccines, and special lanes for A2 and A3 population.
The COVAX Facility — co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization (WHO), together with UNICEF — aims to provide access to quality-assured COVID-19 vaccines, enabling the protection of frontline health care and social workers, as well as other high-risk and vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.
“The WHO commends the US government for its efforts to share COVID-19 vaccines and facilitate their equitable distribution around the world. We especially express our appreciation to the US for sharing vaccines with the Philippines. Equitable global distribution of safe and effective vaccines is the only way to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and we encourage other countries to also support COVAX through the sharing of vaccines,” said Dr Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO Representative to the Philippines.
“Dose sharing is not only the altruistic thing to do. It's also the smart thing to do to ensure the fastest and most secure route to bring the pandemic under control. With deadlier variants of COVID-19 virus emerging, we are racing against time. Each step we make is not only a step towards making sure everyone is safe, it also brings children closer to enjoying their full rights as children,” said Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov, UNICEF Philippines Country Representative.
DOH, WHO, and UNICEF continue to urge local governments to make the best use of available vaccines for the priority populations, while continuing with other preventive measures – wearing of masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing.
*Data does not include NCR
Media Relations Section, Communications Management Unit
Department of Health
Jun Ryan Orbina
Communications Officer for the Expanded Programme on Immunization
Tel: +63 906 438 6312
Rocel Ann Junio
Tel: +63928 501 2064
Chief of Communication
Tel: +63 917 867 8366
Tel: +63 917 858 9447