Over 30,400 Filipinos vaccinated in Israel for free — embassy

Over 30,400 Filipinos vaccinated in Israel for free — embassy
Filipino students under the Agrostudies training program in Israel who received free COVID-19 jabs manufactured by Pfizer.
Israel in the Philippines Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — The Israeli government has administered free COVID-19 jabs to thousands of Filipino caregivers, students and diplomats, its embassy in the Philippines said Wednesday.

In a post to its Facebook page, the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines said its government has "vaccinated for free anyone who is in Israel, regardless of their citizenship status or whether or not they have insurance."

LOOK: ???????? Filipino students under the Agrostudies training program receive their FREE Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Israel...

Posted by Israel in the Philippines on Tuesday, March 16, 2021

"Approximately 30,000 Filipino caregivers, 400 Agriculture students, and the staff of the Philippine embassy in Israel have received the free Pfizer vaccine."

The embassy added that Filipinos with expired working permits were also inoculated for free.

“Israel is thankful for the Filipino caregivers for helping the elderly and the disabled Israeli citizens during the COVID-19 outbreak," Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz said.

While noting that the Israeli government "has been providing the Filipino caregivers with full access to the advanced medical services of our country" for many years, Harpaz said "free access to COVID-19 vaccine is another way of thanking them and ensuring their health and safety."

According to business data platform Statista, Israel currently leads the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, having administered 104.5 jabs per 100 people as of Wednesday.

"With a population of 9.3 million, Israel has already vaccinated 5.2 million people, more than a half of its population, with at least one dose," the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines said. Of these, it added, 4.2 million have already received both shots of Pfizer's vaccine.

In its Wednesday bulletin, the Department of Foreign Affairs said 15,928 Filipinos have contracted COVID-19 overseas since the onset of the pandemic, 1,044 of whom have died.

COVID-19 vaccination in the Philippines

The Philippines' own vaccination program has been slow-going, hampered by unfinished deals with manufacturers and the slow distribution of the donated vaccines available.

More than two weeks after the government kicked off its inoculation program, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday told ANC's "Headstart" that some 215,997 healthcare workers, of the 1.7 million identified by the government, have been vaccinated.

So far, the country has only signed one purchase agreement—for one million doses of Sinovac. It has also signed a supply agreement with Novovax for 30 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine.

At the current pace of inoculation, Sen. Panfilo Lacson warned last week, it would take 11 years and eight months, or until 2033, for herd immunity to be achieved.

According to Duque, the country will ramp up its efforts, targeting 450,000 vaccinations per day by April.

A continued spike in COVID-19 cases has brought the Philippines' caseload to 635,698 and the death toll to 12,866. — Bella Perez-Rubio 

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