Several leaders of various Filipino-American groups thanked United States President Joe Biden for the recent delivery of more than 2.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to the Philippines through the COVAX facility.
During a small rally held in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. over the weekend, the Filipino-American leaders representing a cross-section of the community also appealed to the US president to secure the release of additional 5 million doses of excess AstraZeneca vaccines specifically those stockpiled in Baltimore and Ohio “to help desperate nations” facing the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The rally was held even after controversy marred its preparation when the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. issued a statement dissociating itself from the said gathering.
“The Embassy informs the Filipino Community that it is not associated with, nor coordinates any of the activities organized by Mr. Eric Lachica. The Embassy also does not endorse and is completely uninvolved in the rally being planned by Mr. Lachica on May 15,” the Embassy said.
Lachica, one of the rally organizers, said they are planning another White House rally next month with other community organizations to thank the Biden administration in anticipation of the next vaccine delivery to the Philippines.
The COVAX facility – with the United States being its largest contributor – is a global initiative to support equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine. The US has already donated P97.2 billion ($2 billion) to COVAX, to ensure the Philippines and other countries receive COVID-19 vaccines and committed to providing an additional $2 billion.
On May 10, the Philippines received 193,050 doses of US-made Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, immediately following the May 8 delivery of 2,030,500 doses of AstraZeneca, bringing the total to 2,673,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines delivered through the COVAX facility.
The latest Pfizer delivery was the fourth shipment of vaccines made available through the COVAX Advance Market Commitment. According to the US Embassy in Manila, COVAX will provide 44 million doses of vaccines to the Philippines.