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MANILA, June 12 (Mabuhay) — The Philippines is included in the first tranche of COVID-19 vaccine donation from the United States, the US Embassy said on Thursday.

“By the end of June, in addition to the financial contributions that the US is making to COVAX, the US is willing to donate 80 million from the vaccines that are currently in the United States. That’s about 13 percent that we currently have and President Biden was quite clear that that is just this month,” Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in the Philippines John Law said at the arrival of 2 million Pfizer vaccines from the COVAX facility.

Law added that in the months to come the US plans to make more donations.

“The exact allocation is not yet determined. But we know that the Philippines is included in the initial tranche,” he said, adding that “of those 80 million vaccines, 75% will be distributed through COVAX, another 25% or so will be depending on situations worldwide. We may make direct contributions. So I don’t have the exact number but I know that it will be before the end of June.”

The United States will purchase half a billion COVID-19 vaccine doses for lower income countries with no strings attached, US President Joe Biden said on Thursday.

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In a separate interview, World Health Organization (WHO) Philippine Representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe expressed optimism on the current distribution of vaccines in the country.

“We see this as a critical component to coming out of the pandemic and reducing the impact. So, on behalf of WHO here, the UNICEF and UN team, we are very happy on the progress we are seeing on the ground, the acceleration of vaccination and we remain committed to facilitate the delivery of the COVAX vaccine as we can access them given the current challenges globally,” he said.

However, despite the successive delivery of COVID-19 vaccines in the country there may still be a delay in the distribution of vaccines to local government units.

“We would like to advice all LGUs to be patient, considering there is a procedure before the deployment. Like, for example the Sinovac and also the COVAX will be inspected first,” said vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. (MNS)