The government of Germany donated 844,800 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to the Philippines on Friday afternoon, Oct. 15.
The vaccines arrived around 4:15 p.m. at Terminal 3 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) onboard Emirates Airlines flight EK 332. The vaccine donations were coursed through the COVAX facility.
Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, thanked the German government, European Union (EU), World Health Organization (WHO), and the COVAX facility for their "unwavering support to the global effort to overcome this life threatening disease."
"Over 400,000 Filipinos will be benefitted from these vaccines and this means that more than 400,000 of our countrymen will be saved from severe COVID-19 complications and death," Galvez said.
German Embassy Deputy Head of Mission Alexander Schmidt said another 800,000 doses will be donated by the Germany to the Philippines in the coming weeks. He said this was part of their commitment to provide 100 million doses to emerging and developing countries, including 1.6 million doses to the Philippines.
The German diplomat said the vaccines can support the Philippines' inoculation of students, teachers, and other school personnel.
"We welcome especially that a substantial part is supposed to be used for the education sector and we believe that this might be important for the reopening of the face to face clases in the schools," Schmidt said.
"It's very important that the education sector in the Philippines does not fall behind in the global context of this pandemic. Children are our future and their well-being and education must be a priority," he noted.
Meanwhile, Galvez revealed during the ceremony that more than 1,000 children have already been vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Friday, the first day of the implementation of the inoculation of children and adolescents aged 12 to 17.
"As of this date, mayroon na po kaming na-vaccinate na 1,040 na mga bata (we have vaccinated 1,040 children)," the vaccine czar said.
The country now has received 89,551,320 doses of vaccines since February when the country started accepting the life-saving jabs. More than 51.4 million doses have been administered: 27.5 million individuals have received their first dose while 23.9 million others were fully vaccinated.