Duterte thanks vaccine donors Japan, US

President Duterte has expressed his appreciation to the governments of Japan and the United States (US) for their continued donation of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines to the Philippines.

(Photos from Malacañang/ Unsplash)

"We thank the Japanese government for their donation of close to two million doses of life-saving vaccines," Duterte said late night Tuesday, Oct. 19 during the "Talk to the People" public briefing.

The Chief Executive was referring to Japan's recent commitment to send 1.96 million AstraZeneca jabs to the country.

"Indeed, Japan is a friend closer than a brother--ready to help in times of need," Duterte said.

The Philippine leader also continued his new habit of speaking kindly about the US , another usual donor of vaccines.

"Out thanks also to the United States for providing more than two million doses of COVID-19 vaccines delivered through the facility called COVAX.

"This is the seventh shipment of vaccines from the United States, totalling approximately 18 million doses of vaccines. These vaccine deliveries demonstrate the strength of the US-Philippine alliance," Duterte said.

Most of the jab donations from the US are manufactured by Pfizer, which is among the most sought-after brands of COVID-19 vaccines.

"The deliveries also demonstrate the wisdom of the Philippines' decision to do its part in contributing to the COVAX facility and strengthening its engagement with the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO)," Duterte said.

"The vaccines will benefit our country and help us bring closer to the goal of having a better Christmas," he said.

The Philippines, which is not a rich country by any stretch of the imagination, pledged to donate $1 million to the WHO-led COVAX earlier this year. COVAX aims to ensure the equitable distribution of COVID-19 jabs around the world so that poorer nations won't be left out.

Incidentally, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque assailed COVAX two weeks ago, saying that the countries behind it donate vaccines to poorer nations out of guilt.

President Duterte himself also had scathing words for the UN last month, saying it should "reform" if it wants to lead the world amid the many problems that it faces.