Fil-Am group urges US to expedite vaccine delivery to PH

A Filipino-American organization has appealed to the US government to speed up the delivery of the initial batch of COVID-19 vaccines purchased by the Philippine government.

A nurse at Humber River Hospital draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine before administering it at a LOFT community housing complex in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Cole Burston / AFP/ File Photo)

The Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO) on April 22 launched the #ModernaVax2PH campaign to appeal to the US government for humanitarian assistance in "equipping public health officials in the Philippines with an essential tool for controlling the devastation wrought by COVID-19."

"Like many countries, the Philippines has arranged for its people to secure access to various COVID-19 vaccines being manufactured by companies across the globe, including an order of 20 million doses from Moderna, Inc. that has already been paid for in full by the Philippines," the group said in a statement.

The FYLPRO is appealing that at least three million of the 20 million Moderna vaccine doses be expedited from the proposed timeline of June-July to May as "the current coronavirus emergency highlights the importance of accelerating access to the doses as soon as possible."

The group said that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the Philippines especially hard, citing that hospitals are  already full and there is a dire need for therapeutics, ventilators, preventive education, PPE, disinfection protocols, and vaccines.

“I am cautiously optimistic that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with COVID-19 in the United States. In contrast, the Philippines is expected to be one of the last to recover from the pandemic in Southeast Asia; suffering one of the worst outbreaks in the region and its economy experiencing its worst drop since the end of World War II," said Louella Cabalona, FYLPRO president.

FYLPRO urged US President Joe Biden to use his executive authority to expedite the release of this initial batch of fully paid vaccines to save a significant number of lives in the Philippines upfront.

"I urge the Biden-Harris administration to consider the long-standing relationship of the two countries as allies, and fast-track the delivery of Moderna vaccines ordered by the Philippines," she said.

The number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines is nearing the one-million mark.

As of Sunday, April 25, the country reported another 8,162 new cases, bringing the total to 997,523. Of this total number, 77,075 were active cases, 903,665 have recovered, while 16,783 died due to the disease.

Over 1.7 million doses have been administered as of April 25, according to the Department of Health.