President Rodrigo Duterte thanked the United States for the latest batch of Moderna vaccines for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) totalling three million doses, vowing to prioritize “those who have least in life.”
Duterte, along with some Cabinet officials, personally welcomed the arrival of the US-donated vaccine at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City on Tuesday afternoon.
The Moderna vaccine was coursed through the World Health Organization-COVAX facility.
“It is with joy and high hopes, we welcome today the arrival of more than three million doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccines from the United States of America,” he said in his speech.
Aside from the vaccines, he also thanked the US for the donations of the key medical supplies and equipment and the provision of institutional support to our Covid response.
“All of these have helped, definitely will continue to help the Filipino people. Indeed, the cooperation between the Philippines and US in overcoming the pandemic highlights the strong and deep friendship between our two countries,” he said.
Duterte acknowledged the “tedious” and “difficult” process in ensuring that the vaccines reach the people.
He, however, assured that the poor will be prioritized in the vaccine rollout.
“I know that it is the sentiment of America that the vaccines that will be given to the Philippines should go first to those who have least in life. Yung mga mahirap (The poor). The poor ones who cannot afford,” he said. “Rest assured that everybody will follow that directive.”
Duterte also expressed hope that those who were still hesitant to get vaccinated would be “enticed” with the Covid-19 vaccines donated by the US.
Prior to the arrival of the three million Moderna vaccine doses, US also donated 3.2 million doses of the single-shot Johnson&Johnson vaccine to the Philippines. These vials were delivered in two tranches.
As of August 2, over 21.2 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country while 9.3 million individuals have been fully vaccinated.