US to send more than 8 million COVID-19 vaccines to Philippines, Bangladesh

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 02 2021 07:43 AM

In this July 16, 2021 photo, some 3.2 million doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines donated by the US government through the COVAX vaccine-sharing program arrive at NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City. ABS-CBN News/File
In this July 16, 2021 photo, some 3.2 million doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines donated by the US government through the COVAX vaccine-sharing program arrive at NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City. ABS-CBN News/File

The United States announced Friday it is sending more than 8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to the Philippines and Bangladesh in the latest wave of aid to a world still struggling to tame the pandemic.

Five shipments totalling 5,575,050 doses will go to the Philippines by next week, a White House official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Another 2,508,480 doses will arrive early next week in Bangladesh, the official said.

The vaccines— all Pfizer-BioNTech— are being donated through the World Health Organization's COVAX program.

The "administration understands that putting an end to this pandemic requires eliminating it around the world," the official said, noting that US donations represent "the largest-ever purchase and donation of vaccines by a single country."

Hard-hit Bangladesh has already received millions of US vaccine doses, including another 2.5 million sent just last week.

According to AFP's database, only about 10 percent of Bangladesh's population has been fully vaccinated.

The impoverished country of about 170 million people, which neighbors India, has imposed some of the world's longest lockdowns in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The Philippines has recorded more than 2.5 million infections, including over 38,000 deaths. Just over a quarter of the adult population has been fully vaccinated amid a delayed and slow vaccination rollout.

Officials warn the economy could take more than a decade to recover from the pandemic impact, which has thrown millions out of work.

Nearly 70 percent of the economy, including 23.3 million workers, remained under "heightened quarantine" restrictions, Economic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said Thursday.

At his recent address to the United Nations, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte scored wealthy nations for "hoarding" vaccines while the supply still came in trickles to poor nations. 

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