Galvez says PH 'will always treasure' US after Pfizer donations

Published September 20, 2021, 1:51 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The Philippines “will always treasure” the long-standing relationship it has with the United States after it received the latter’s donation of two million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX facility on Sunday night, September 19.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, said President Duterte was grateful to the US government for lending a hand to the Philippines as it battles a surge of cases.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. and US Embassy Charge d’affaires Heather Variava bump their fists during the arrival of 2,020,590 doses of Pfizer at NAIA Terminal 3 on Sept. 19, 2021. (Photo: NTF Against COVID-19)

“Mam, thank you very much and our national government will always treasure this friendship and we will always be grateful to the donations that you have given to us,” said Galvez in addressing US Embassy Charge d’Affaires Heather Variava. The two officials were present during the arrival of 2,020,590 doses of Pfizer at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 around 11:30 p.m.

“The President is very grateful and very thankful,” he added.

Galvez also thanked the COVAX facility and its co-leaders, the Gavi Vaccine Alliance and World Health Organization (WHO), for allocating the life-saving jabs to the country.

The latest delivery was part of the 10 million doses of Pfizer that the US government pledged to give to the Philippines via the COVAX facility until December 2021.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. (left) and WHO country director Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe bump their fists during the arrival of 2,020,590 doses of Pfizer at NAIA Terminal 3 on Sept. 19, 2021. (Photo: NTF Against COVID-19)

Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO country representative, expressed hope that the donated vaccines will be used for the inoculation of elderly citizens (A2).

He said the WHO is “concerned” that around 3.5 million elderly people have not yet been vaccinated in the country, and the Delta-driven surge being experienced by the Philippines further stressed the need to protect them as they are one of most vulnerable sectors.

“We will bring up to 10 million doses of Pfizer vaccines. These [are] meant to help the Philippines respond to the current surge and to protect as many Filipino lives as possible,” Abeyasinghe noted.

The total vaccine supply now stood at 64,380,400 doses. Included in the supply are 8,617,050 doses of Pfizer, of which, around 4.68 million doses were donated by COVAX.

 
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