MANILA — The Philippines' status as the last Southeast Asian nation to get a delivery of COVID-19 shots has "no big meaning," Malacañang said on Thursday, ahead of the expected arrival of the country's first vaccine batch.
The delivery of vaccines to the Philippines and its regional neighbors is "just days" apart, said Palace spokesman Harry Roque.
"It’s a matter of days, de minimis po ang tawag d’yan. Iyong gap ng pagtanggap natin compared to other countries, it’s just days that we can count with one finger (sic)," he told reporters in an online briefing.
"Wala pong malaking big sabihin iyan. Halos sabay-sabay dumating sa atin, at halos pare-pareho pong dumating sa ‘tin, Sinovac," he said.
(It’s a matter of days, that is called de minimis. The gap in our receipt of vaccines compared to other countries is minimal, it’s just days that we can count with one finger. That has no big meaning. The vaccines arrived almost at the same time, and almost all of us got Sinovac.)
All of the Philippines' regional neighbors have received their first vaccine deliveries.
The Philippines on Sunday will get its first vaccine batch, 600,000 doses from Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech, which China had donated.
The 2-shot vaccine delivery will be enough to cover 50,000 soldiers and 250,000 health workers, who are at the top of the priority list, said Roque.
With the second highest coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia, next to Indonesia, the Philippines aims to inoculate up to 70 million people or two-thirds of its population.
Video courtesy of PTV