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2nd batch of Sinovac vaccines donated by China arrives in Philippines

Updated: Mar 24,2021 10:16    Xinhua

MANILA — The second batch of Sinovac vaccines donated by China arrived in the Philippines on March 24 amid the rapid surge of COVID-19 infections in the Southeast Asian country.

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian turned over the vaccines to the Philippines.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the Philippines is "grateful for the arrival of additional donated vaccines."

"The arrival of these vaccines could not have occurred at a more opportune time considering the continued rise in cases, which in turn increases the need to inoculate more high-risk individuals as soon as possible," Duque said.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said the arrival of the additional CoronaVac vaccines "is a testament that when all nations are working together, we can surmount any challenges ahead."

"The Philippine government will continue to strengthen its collaboration with China to put an end to this pandemic finally," Galvez added.

China delivered a first batch of donated Sinovac vaccines to the Philippines on Feb 28. China is the first country to provide COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines, allowing the Southeast Asian country to kick off its vaccination program.

The Philippines now has 677,653 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 12,992 deaths.

The Philippines has approved the emergency use for Sinovac vaccines, along with the vaccines made by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Russia's Sputnik V vaccines.

The government aims to inoculate up to 70 million Filipinos this year to achieve herd immunity, starting with health care workers, the elderly, and the poor communities. The Philippines has about 110 million population.