The first tranche of the vaccine doses for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) committed by the United Kingdom (UK) to developing countries, including the Philippines, arrived on Monday afternoon.
Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. along with outgoing British Ambassador Daniel Pruce and Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Jaime Victor Ledda, welcomed the 415,040 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.
“We are deeply grateful for this gesture of kindness and compassion from the UK government and your 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,” Galvez told Pruce before leaving to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte and witness his Talk to the People.
Overall, the Philippines has already received over 7 million AstraZeneca doses since the government vaccination program started in March 2021.
In a media interview, Pruce said the donation is a powerful illustration of how the UK and the Philippines are working together in the fight against Covid-19.
“The UK is helping Covid-19 vaccines reach more countries. Today, we’re donating 415,040 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the Philippines so that more people here can be vaccinated,” he said.
He added that the commitment of the UK to deliver jabs to developing countries will be fulfilled by June 2022.
Ledda underscored that the donation is a highlight of the two countries’ 75-year diplomatic relations.
“It is a symbol of a very strong and enhanced partnership that we have with the United Kingdom. I think it is really a testament to the cooperation that we have been able to generate through the years. There has been a lot of good will between the UK and the Philippines. Definitely, this is one manifestation of that good will,” he added.
On July 29, Pruce paid a courtesy call on Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. to formally serve notice of the end of his four-year post this month.