(FILE) The first batch of 1.6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson arrives at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Friday, July 16, 2021. Screenshot from PTV
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday expressed gratitude to the governments of Japan and the United States for their donations of COVID-19 vaccine doses to the Philippines.
In a public address aired late Tuesday night, Duterte described Japan as "a friend closer than a brother" who is "ready to help in times of need."
Duterte said Japan donated close to 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.
"We thank the Japanese government for their donation of close to 2 million doses of life-saving vaccines. Indeed, Japan is a friend closer than a brother ready to help in times of need," he said.
On Oct. 15, Japan pledged to give an additional 1.96 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to the country.
He likewise thanked the U.S. for continuously donating COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines through the global initiative COVAX facility.
The donations, he said, show the "strength" of the US-Philippine alliance.
"Our thanks go also to the United States for providing more than 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines delivered through the facility called COVAX. This is the 7th shipment of vaccines from the United States, totaling approximately 18 million doses of vaccines," Duterte said.
"These vaccine deliveries demonstrate the strength of the US-Philippine alliance. The deliveries also demonstrate the wisdom of the Philippines' decision to do its part in contributing to the COVAX Facility and strengthening its engagement with the United Nations and the World Health Organization," he added.
All in all, Duterte said the vaccine donations will help the Philippines have a "better Christmas" this year.
As of October 18, the Philippines has received more than 91.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. This is expected to reach 104 million doses by the end of October.
The government, Duterte said, has also administered close to 53 million COVID-19 vaccines, with 32% of the country's target adult population already fully vaccinated .
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