MANILA - The Chinese embassy has assured the Philippines of a stable supply of COVID-19 vaccines as the country continues to battle the pandemic.
Speaking in a virtual forum organized by the Association for Philippines-China Understanding, Chinese Embassy Charge d’Affaires Tan Qingsheng said the Philippines is procuring 25 million doses of Sinovac vaccine vials this year and is in talks for the entry of Sinopharm vaccines.
“We have reached an agreement that this year the Philippines will procure 25 million doses of Sinovac. As of now, 12 million doses of Sinovac vaccines have already arrived in the Philippines. Moreover, the Philippine government and China’s Sinopharm (are) also discussing the entry of Sinopharm vaccines to the Philippine market,” Tan said.
“Vaccine is a key part to control the pandemic and economic recovery and I am sure China will continue to ensure the stable vaccine supply and shipment and stands ready to provide anti-pandemic assistance to the Philippines,” he added.
The Philippines has so far taken delivery of some 17.455 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, the majority or 12 million doses of which are from China’s Sinovac.
Beijing earlier donated 1 million shots of the same brand to kickstart the country’s vaccination program in March.
Tan was a speaker on the role of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in the making of modern China in a forum held on the eve of the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.
He also expressed his government’s readiness to “deepen win-win cooperation” with the other countries including the Philippines, with which it has an ongoing maritime dispute.
“China stands ready to deepen win-win cooperation with other countries, including the Philippines, to build our community with a shared future for mankind. The CPC will also continue to further exchanges with political parties of the Philippines. I am confident that with our joint efforts, China and the Philippines will embrace a shared brighter future,” Tan said.
The country’s COVID-19 vaccine supply remained limited, compounded by delivery delays.
Despite this, the government has so far been able to administer 10.065 million COVID-19 vaccine doses since its rollout on March 1.
A total of 2,527,286 individuals are fully vaccinated against the virus, having received their 2 doses.
The Philippines and China, meanwhile, remain locked in a maritime dispute.
A UN-backed arbitration court invalidated China's sweeping claims over almost the entire South China Sea in a ruling in 2016. Beijing continues to disregard it.
The West Philippine Sea is the Philippines' exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.