DEPUTY Speaker and Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Saturday thanked the United States (US) for deciding to donate part of its surplus AstraZeneca coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccines to the Philippines and other countries.
“We are grateful for the donation, which will strengthen our diplomatic ties with the US,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said the donation would also give Filipinos more vaccine options.
“It will expedite the government’s vaccination program and hopefully the attainment of herd immunity or what the pandemic response task force calls as ‘population protection’,” he said.
He said the donated COVID-19 shots would increase the country’s vaccine supply.
“We should anticipate a surge in supply and prepare to scale up vaccination,” Rodriguez said.
The vaccine the US is donating is made by British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca and UK’s Oxford University. It is widely used in Europe.
The US is sharing an initial seven million doses to the Philippines, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, and the Pacific Islands.
American officials have said the donation would be made through the World Health Organization’s vaccine-sharing facility for “equitable distribution.”
In April, Rodriguez urged the US to donate its excess Covid-19 vaccine supply to the Philippines. At that time, only China’s Sinovac was available here.
“Our access to western-made vaccines will lessen our country’s dependence on China’s vaccines and give Filipinos vaccination options,” Rodriguez said then.