MANILA – The British government’s donation of 5.6 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine is a testament to the United Kingdom’s (UK) “enduring support” to help the Philippines battle the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Ambassador Laure Beaufils said Friday.
The envoy, with Philippine vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., welcomed the arrival of 288,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which are part of the 5.2 million doses that will be shipped to Manila by Saturday.
In August, the UK made its initial donation of 414,040 vaccine doses to the Philippines.
“It’s absolutely essential to us that we are able to help our partners through this pandemic and we have committed that we would be supplying up to 100 million doses (globally) and today, this is demonstrating that we’re living up to this commitment,” Beaufils said in an interview.
“Our contribution to the Philippines is now almost 5.6 million doses and is a testament of our friendship and enduring support through the pandemic.”
She said the UK also continues to work with the Philippines on various areas of cooperation, including on education and policy exchanges, to further improve responses against Covid-19.
“So yes, it’s a broad cooperation with lots of various engagement,” Beaufils said.
Galvez said the fresh British aid was not requested by Manila but was initiated by the UK government.
“It’s very timely because we will be having our national vaccination day for three days and we may need more,” he said, citing some local government units in the Calabarzon and Central Luzon regions.
From November 29 to December 1, the pandemic task force targets to inoculate 15 million individuals across the country and reach the “population protection” threshold as soon as possible.
As of Friday, about 34,963,067 people have been fully inoculated against Covid-19, while 137,801 have received their booster shots.
Apart from the UK, Poland and South Korea are each set to deliver more than 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine before the year ends.