Duterte asks US for more COVID-19 vaccines

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte | Malacañang photo by Karl Norman Alonzo

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has asked the United States for more vaccines against COVID-19, saying that the country is ready to buy its excess doses.

In his weekly public address, the chief executive maintained the government has “saved money” for buying additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

“I am just asking America to give us more kung mayroon lang sila (only if they have). I know na (that it’s) ‘we first before you.’ We understand it and we accept it but if there is an excess of supply, pakitulong naman dito sa amin (please help my country),” Duterte said Monday, August 16.

“We have the money. We buy, we do not ask. We have saved money for this event,” he added.

Earlier this month, the Philippines received more than three million doses of the Moderna vaccine donated by the U.S. through the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility.

Prior to that, the U.S. also donated 3.2 million doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the country.

Duterte, for his part, reiterated his call for Filipinos to protect themselves against COVID-19 by getting vaccinated amid surges in cases in the country due to the Delta variant.

“Itong virus na ito (This virus) will just circulate in the air for years, so itong (this) mask, limited social contacts natin nandiyan na iyan (will be always there),” he said.

“The virus is here to stay and it will change your life at least forever until mawala ito (it disappears). And it will continue to claim lives,” he added.

As of August 15, the country has fully vaccinated more than 12.5 million individuals, while over 15.2 million have received their first dose.

The Philippine government aims to vaccinate at least 70 million individuals to achieve herd immunity.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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