The United States said it is sending more than eight million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Bangladesh and the Philippines in the latest wave of aid to a world still struggling to tame the pandemic.
Five shipments totalling 5,575,050 doses will go to the Philippines by next week, a White House official said.
Another 2,508,480 doses will arrive early next week in Bangladesh.
The vaccines—all Pfizer-BioNTech—are being donated through the World Health Organization's Covax program.
The "administration understands that putting an end to this pandemic requires eliminating it around the world," the official said, noting that US donations represent "the largest-ever purchase and donation of vaccines by a single country."
The Philippines has recorded more than 2.5 million infections, including over 38,000 deaths. Just over a quarter of the adult population has been fully vaccinated amid a delayed and slow vaccination rollout.
Officials warn the economy could take more than a decade to recover from the pandemic impact, which has thrown millions out of work.
Nearly 70 percent of the economy, including 23.3 million workers, remained under "heightened quarantine" restrictions, Economic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said.
The Philippines is expecting 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines this month, according to vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.
Galvez urged local government units to scale up their vaccination rates, as well have ultra cold storage facilities where temperature-sensitive vaccines can be stored safely.
To date, more than 45 million vaccine doses have been administered nationwide, of which, 24 million doses were given as first dose.
The country now has more than 21 million fully vaccinated individuals or 27.36 percent of the country’s eligible population. With AFP