MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines on Thursday received an additional 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from China's Sinovac Biotech.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III welcomed the shipment at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, which arrived at 7:37 a.m. through a Cebu Pacific flight from China.
As of May 12, the country has so far received more than 7.7 million vaccine doses, of which 5 million were from the Beijing-based pharmaceutical company.
Some 2.5 million doses were from AstraZeneca and 193,000 were from Pfizer.
As more vaccines arrive in the country, the health chief urged the public not to choose their vaccines.
Duque described the situation as harder compared to that of vaccine hesitancy.
If an individual chooses a vaccine, he said, that person's waiting time would be longer while there is also the higher possibility to be infected with COVID-19 and suffer severe symptoms.
"Karapatan mo mamili pero sa bawat karapatan mayroong kaakibat na tiyansa na magkaroon ka ng COVID, ano pipiliin mo sa dalawa? 'Yung benepisyo ng COVID vaccine... ['yung] benepisyo naman ng magka-COVID ka wala pero ['yung] risk (na magka-COVID) napakataas," he said.
(While you have the right to choose, there is a consequence that comes with it, such as being infected with COVID-19. What's your choice? Having the benefits of the vaccine or the risk of getting the virus?)
So far, over 3.2 million doses have been administered in the country, of which 786,000 have been fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, some 2.5 million have received the first dose.
The country aims to vaccinate 58 million Filipinos by yearend to achieve herd immunity.
Since the pandemic began, the Philippines has logged more than 1.1 million coronavirus infections in which more than 19,500 have died from the respiratory illness.
— With a report from Raya Capulong, ABS-CBN News