Australia to donate P480 million to Philippines for COVID-19 vaccine purchase

Australia to donate P480 million to Philippines for COVID-19 vaccine purchase
In this 2019 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte poses with Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson and his wife at the presentation of the envoy's credentials in Malacañang.
Joven Cagande

MANILA, Philippines — Australia on Thursday announced that it will donate P480 million to the Philipppines for procuring more COVID-19 vaccines. 

Ambassador Steven Robinson said he has told administration officials of the additional commitment of 13.72 million Australian dollars for the effort.

"This will make an important contribution to meeting the country's vaccine needs in 2021," he wrote on Twitter.

Robinson said this is on top of Canberra's support of some 130 million AUD 130 million to the COVAX Facilty. 

The Philippines has remained significantly reliant on the World Health Organization-led initiative for supply of the jabs. 

Government secured an P82.5 billion ($1.70 billion) from Congress to buy the vaccines, with purchases so far from Sinovac, Gamaleya and Moderna.

Robinson added that Australia has provided AUD 7.52 million in vaccine delivery support to the Philippines through UNICEF and WHO.

Apart from Australia, other countries such as Japan and the United States have vowed to send excess vaccine supply to the country. 

Tokyo this week said it would donate AstraZeneca doses, while Washington would share seven million doses to the Philippines and other Asian nations.

By mid-June, official data showed that there are now more than two million Filipinos fully vaccinated for COVID-19, with 5.55 million with their first shot.

Officials are targetting to inoculate 50 to 70 million this year in a bid to reach herd immunity.

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