Villamor Air Base, Pasay City
February 28, 2021

In a historic event, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the Philippine government in receiving the first shipment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines in the country manufactured by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd., a first huge step towards overcoming the drastic effects of the pandemic in the country.

On Sunday afternoon (28 February 2021), a total of 600,000 doses of the CoronaVac vaccines arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City onboard a Chinese military plane.

In his remarks, President Duterte expressed his confidence that the shipment will mark the arrival of more batches of COVID-19 vaccines in the country, giving the Filipino people more opportunities to be inoculated the soonest.

“The delivery of this first batch, I hope, will serve as a guarantee to everyone that we are taking a big step in our efforts to overcome this health crisis,” the President said.

Amidst the circulating issues regarding the effectivity of vaccines, the Chief Executive called on the public to ‘set aside their fears’ as the government is doing everything to help in this situation.

“These vaccines are backed by science and deliberated on by our experts, Filipino experts. I encourage you to get vaccinated at the soonest possible time and be our partner in preventing the further spread of the disease,” President Duterte appealed.

He directed all concerned government agencies in the vaccination program to institutionalize a whole-of-government approach in the rollout and stressed that no time and resources should be wasted.

Despite the arrival of vaccines, President Duterte encouraged his countrymen to not get complacent and continue practicing health and safety protocols as the nation awaits the easing of community quarantine classification.

“Remember to wear masks, wash hands and observe social distancing. Your cooperation is key and will undoubtedly save numerous lives along the way,” he reminded.

The Chief Executive also conveyed his confidence that the entire country shall claim victory over the pandemic, as he considers this time ‘a call for Bayanihan.’

“Let us all demonstrate unity in our shared task of nation building and healthier society for every Filipino,’ he said.

Sinovac’s CoronaVac is the third COVID-19 vaccine brand, aside from Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca, granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) by the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).