The United Kingdom (UK) donated an additional 1,746,160 doses of AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine to the Philippines on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 27.
The vaccine donations from UK arrived onboard Emirates Airlines flight EK332 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 around 4 p.m. The donated jabs were coursed through the global vaccine-sharing initiative COVAX facility.
The delivery completed UK’s commitment of providing 5,225,200 free COVID-19 jabs to the Philippines in three batches. The first batch consisting of 3,191,040 doses arrived last Thursday while the second batch of 288,000 doses was transported on Friday.
“I’m delighted that we’re able to supply 5.2 million more AstraZeneca vaccines from UK this week. This is a powerful illustration of our commitment to deliver 100 million doses worldwide by next year,” said British Embassy deputy head of mission Alashair Walton Totty.
The donations came at a crucial time as the country is set to conduct the “National Vaccination Days” from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.
Dr. Maria Paz Corrales, medical consultant of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, said the vaccines will be used in the three-day nationwide immunization drive to further increase the vaccination output in the 16 regions outside of Metro Manila.
Corrales urged the public to participate in the vaccination drive and have themselves get inoculated as soon as possible especially after foreign scientists discovered a new mutation of the SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, in South Africa.
The new variant, called B1.1.529 or “Omicron,” is feared to be more contagious than the Delta variant.
“[Vaccination is] the best gift that we can give to our family, community, and all Filipinos, [and the] country. It’s the best way to spend a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,” she said.
Corrales also extended the NTF’s gratitude to the UK government and people for helping the Filipinos eradicate the threat of the pandemic.
The UK has so far donated around 5.6 million vaccines to the Philippines in support of the country’s fight against the global health crisis. On August 2 this year, UK also sent 415,040 of AstraZeneca to Manila for free.
“We look forward to do more in terms of our health partnership with the Philippines,” Totty added.
The total vaccine supply has now reached 141,606,240 doses. Around 80.6 million doses have been administered as of Friday while 61 million doses were stored in government warehouses.
Specifically, a total of 45,056,508 individuals have received their first dose while 35,391,519 others have been fully vaccinated. The fully vaccinated population represents 45.88 percent of the 77 million eligible population that the country intends to inoculate by year-end to achieve herd immunity.
Meanwhile, there were 165,822 individuals who have been administered with booster shots.