The United Kingdom is sending 415,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines to help the country tackle the pandemic, British Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Dominic Raab announced Wednesday.
In a statement, the British government said the vaccine delivery to the Philippines is part of the first batch of the 100 million doses that the UK has pledged to get the poorest parts of the world vaccinated as a matter of urgency.
“We’re doing this to help the most vulnerable, but also because we know we won’t be safe until everyone is safe,” the British Embassy in Manila said.
Initially, Raab said a total of nine million vaccine doses will be donated by the UK bilaterally around the world, including the Philippines, and to the COVAX facility to help address Covid-19 abroad.
The British government said the vaccines are expected to start leaving the UK this week, with the Philippines among the countries set to receive doses.
Five million doses are being offered to COVAX, the scheme to ensure equitable, global access to Covid-19 vaccines. In turn, COVAX will immediately distribute the vaccines to lower-income countries through an equitable allocation system, which prioritizes delivering vaccines to people who most need them.
Another four million doses will be shared directly with countries in need.
The UK has pledged to donate 100 million vaccines overseas by June 2022, 80 million of which will go to COVAX.
The UK vaccine donation is from the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, made by Oxford Biomedica in Oxford and packaged in Wrexham, North Wales.
During the G7 Summit in Cornwall last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged the UK would share within the next year, with 30 million due to be sent by the end of the year.
This week’s deployment will help meet the urgent need for vaccines from countries around the world, including in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. These are the regions that are currently experiencing high levels of Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce said the UK is helping Covid-19 vaccines reach more countries and the donation of 415,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the Philippines aims to get more people vaccinated.