MANILA - The United Kingdom will donate 415,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines, the outgoing British ambassador in Manila said on Wednesday.
"The UK is helping COVID-19 vaccines reach more countries. We’re donating 415,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the Philippines so that more people here can get vaccinated," British Ambassador Daniel Pruce said in a statement.
According to UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, this is part of the first batch of 100 million doses they've pledged to poor countries struggling to curb their own COVID-19 cases at home.
"We’re doing this to help the most vulnerable, but also because we know we won’t be safe until everyone is safe," he said.
Philippine vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. thanked the UK for the donation, calling it a "gesture of kindness and compassion from the UK government" and the British people.
"This generous donation of vaccine doses to the Philippines will boost the national government’s capacity to provide the country’s most vulnerable sectors with an added layer of protection, particularly our uniformed personnel who put their lives on the line to ensure the safety and welfare of the Filipino people across the country," he said.
The UK will start shipping 9 million AstraZeneca jabs across the globe this week, of which 5 million are going to the UN-led COVAX Facility, which pushes for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.
More than three-quarters, or 80 million, of the pledged 100 million jabs will be sent to the initiative.
The Philippines, meanwhile, is still reporting thousands of cases daily, which local transmission of the highly infectious COVID-19 Delta variant is threatening to worsen.
The National Task Force Against COVID-19 earlier in the day said they already administered more than 18.17 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, of which 11.33 million are first shots.
A total of 6.83 million Filipinos, meanwhile, are already fully vaccinated against the disease.