Picture used for illustrative purpose. File
Gulf Today Report
The Philippines received the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine from China on Sunday
The donated doses from China arrived a day before the Philippines kicked off its national inoculation campaign.
The 600,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech’s Coronavac was delivered by a Chinese military aircraft.
The Philippines will be receiving another 25 million doses of CoronaVac in batches this year.
The vaccination campaign will begin with health care workers, police and military personnel.
President Rodrigo Duterte thanked China for the "gesture of friendship and solidarity - the hallmark of Philippines-China partnership."
The Philippines has also negotiated vaccine supply deals with other manufacturers, seeking to secure up to 148 million doses so it can inoculate 70 million people or two-thirds of its population.
Despite the vaccine arrival, however, there is little public support for the inoculation drive. One opinion poll showed that less than a third of Filipinos are willing to get vaccinated as they worry about potential side effects.
Nations like France and South Korea began resuming face-to-face classes as they got their outbreaks under control, but Philippine authorities see the risk as too great. President Rodrigo Duterte said last month that even if students could not graduate, they needed to stay out of school to fight the spread of the disease.
China has rejected Philippine allegations that a Chinese fishing vessel abandoned 22 Filipinos after it sank their boat in the South China Sea, as pressure builds on President Rodrigo Duterte to take a tougher line.
China passed a law on Saturday tightening the supervision and management of how vaccines enter the market, requiring stricter management of their production, research and distribution, after a series of safety scandals.
Collaboration and partnership have become one of the positive outcomes of “Arab Health,” which, since 1975, has been a channel for local, regional and international healthcare industry stakeholders to introduce and showcase well-researched science/medical-based technology for improved public health and patient care.
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