Villamor Air Base, Pasay City
March 4, 2021
“Let me thank you, to our key partners in the international community represented by their ambassadors tonight. Their cooperation in public health is very much needed. Positive engagement is very much welcome,” President Rodrigo Roa Duterte stated as he led the Philippine government in receiving the 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
The arrival of AstraZeneca vaccines marked the first round of allocated doses from the COVAX Facility and the second batch of vaccine shipment that already arrived in the Philippines.
“As I have said before, these vaccines should be treated as a global public good. The need for international solidarity and cooperation cannot be made clearer than this pandemic because…no one is safe globally until everybody is safe,” President Duterte stressed in his keynote message after viewing one of the crates containing the vaccine doses and inspecting an actual vaccine vial during the presentation of AstraZeneca vaccines to the government.
The Chief Executive directed all concerned agencies to actively institutionalize and sustain the whole-of-government approach in addressing the country’s COVID-19 situation, as well as assured his fellow Filipinos that the government is working to ensure the immediate and equitable distribution of vaccines to all communities throughout the nation.
He also appealed to his ‘kababayans’ to get inoculated as this would further prevent the spread of the virus and gave his assurance that the available vaccines are safe. At the same time, he reminded the public to continue observing and practicing health and safety protocols as the country waits for the arrival of more COVID-19 vaccines.
World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe also delivered his opening remarks where he announced that the consignment received by the Philippines on this day will be followed by up to 4.5 million AstraZeneca vaccines scheduled to arrive in batches before the end of May. These vaccines will protect 20% of the country’s population during the year.
“Together we are stronger and today’s arrival in the Philippines of the COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility is a testament to the strength of collaboration, cooperation and compassion. It is a testament to the power of working together towards a common goal in the spirit of partnership, equity and solidarity,” Dr. Abeyasinghe said.
COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator – a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatment and vaccines.
It is co-led by the WHO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), alongside the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as key delivery partner. Its primary aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as to guarantee fair and equitable access for every nation in the world.