MANILA - The Philippines received Wednesday an additional 400,000 doses of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine donated by China, in addition to the 600,000 doses that arrived last month.
The Philippine Airlines Boeing 777 carrying the doses arrived roughly before 7:30 a.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 and was welcomed by Philippine officials and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Hunag Xilian, PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said.
In a statement, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the arrival of the vaccines "could not have occurred at a more opportune time considering the continued rise in cases, which in turn increases the need to inoculate more high-risk individuals as soon as possible."
“We shall see to it that all of our healthcare workers, not just in the National Capital Region but in the whole country, are given the protection they need and deserve for being at the forefront of the battle against the virus," he added.
The Philippines has received a total of 1,125,600 COVID-19 vaccines, based on the data gathered by ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.
The Philippines is expecting to receive almost 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of the month through the government’s negotiations with Sinovac and through the WHO-led COVAX Facility. One million of which are procured from China’s Sinovac, while the remaining 979,200 doses are the additional donated AstraZeneca doses through COVAX Facility.
Villaluna said the flight was "milestone" for PAL for airlifting vaccines to Manila from an overseas hub making it "the first local carrier to fetch and carry home much-needed vaccines for our country."
"We thank the Philippine government for the trust placed on the flag carrier to ferry home these vital goods that will continue the momentum of the country's vaccination program," PAL said.