Philippines receives over 3.2M vaccines donated by the US Government through the COVAX Facility

Joint press statement of the Department of Health, World Health Organization and UNICEF

16 July 2021
Officials from UNICEF, the Department of Health, the US Embassy in the Philippines, USAID and WHO stand in front of a shipment of COVID-19 vaccines donated by the US Government to the Philippines via COVAX
UNICEF Philippines/2021/Iya Forbes
The Philippines receives the first of two shipments of Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccines that were donated by the US Government via COVAX on 16 July 2021. Among those who received the delivery were UNICEF Philippines Deputy Representative Behzad Noubary, Acting USAID Mission Director Sean Callahan, US Embassy Chargé d'Affairs John C. Law, NTF Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr., DOH secretary Francisco Duque III, and WHO Philippines OIC and Medical Officer Rajendra Yadav. UNICEF is calling on well-supplied countries to donate their COVID-19 vaccine doses to help achieve vaccine equity.

16 July 2021, Manila – The Philippines received today an initial delivery of over 1.6 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine donated by the United States (US) Government through the COVAX Facility. A second delivery, expected to arrive on 17 July 2021, will complete the donation of around 3.2 million doses.

The deliveries are part of global vaccine-sharing strategy by the US Government, which aims to provide at least 80 million vaccine doses to countries most affected by the pandemic.

“These vaccines from the COVAX facility would be given to our senior citizens who are at risk for severe COVID-19 and deaths. These single-dose vaccines would help fully vaccinate more of our lolos and lolas and increase coverage among the A2 priority group. By fully vaccinating them, we could hopefully reduce hospitalization and decongest our hospitals. Kaya naman po inaanyayahan ko ang ating mga lolo at lola na magpabakuna na laban sa COVID-19,” said Secretary of Health Francisco T. Duque III.

As of July 14, around 10 million Filipinos have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 4 million have completed two doses. However, the vaccination coverage among the A2 priority group – the senior citizens – remains lagging at 31% coverage for the first dose.

The additional COVID-19 vaccines are expected to urgently fill in the supplies needed to vaccinate the vulnerable and at-risk populations, especially the elderly and those living in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA). The J&J vaccines can be stored using conventional vaccine storage equipment for routine vaccines, enabling the supplies to be distributed to far-flung areas, where populations can be fully protected with a single dose.

“WHO lauds the United States Government and its people for heeding the global call for vaccine equity, and for its continuing partnership with the Philippines to save lives and end the pandemic,” said Dr Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO Representative to the Philippines. “COVID-19 vaccines are lifesaving tools, but with a limited supply, prioritizing the most vulnerable is the most optimal way to save lives. In the Philippines, we need to ramp up our efforts in vaccinating the elderly and those with underlying conditions,” added Dr Abeyasinghe.

“UNICEF welcomes this significant commitment from the United States Government. As cases rise around the world, as the virus continues to mutate, and as vaccine availability remains low, sharing immediately available excess doses is an essential stop-gap measure. For UNICEF these doses represent more than just protection—it represents hope for the many children who are still unable to go back to school, hug their friends and family, and simply be children,” said Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov, UNICEF Philippines Country Representative.

To date, the Philippines has received about 10 million vaccine doses from the COVAX Facility.

DOH, WHO, and UNICEF continue to urge local governments to make the best use of available vaccines, while continuing with other preventive measures – wearing of masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing.

Media contacts

Lindsay Orsolino
Media Relations Section, Communications Management Unit
Department of Health
Tel: +639063812403
Jun Ryan Orbina
Communications Officer for the Expanded Programme on Immunization
WHO Philippines
Tel: +63 906 438 6312

About COVAX

COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, as well as civil society organizations, vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others.

Notes to Editors

Full COVAX News Note to Editors: https://www.who.int/initiatives/act-accelerator/covax/covax-newsnote-to-editors

List of donor pledges to the Gavi COVAX AMC: https://www.gavi.org/covax-vaccine-roll-out

UNICEF COVAX page: https://www.unicef.org/supply/covax-ensuring-global-equitable-access-covid-19-vaccines

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in the Philippines, visit www.unicef.ph.

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