Philippines gets more jabs from China amid virus spike

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JAKARTA

The Philippines received 400,000 more doses of CoronaVac, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese firm Sinovac, on Wednesday morning.

The shipment has come at an “opportune time,” said Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, stressing the need for the Philippines to ramp up vaccinations amid an alarming spike in recent days.

The Philippines reported 8,019 infections on Monday, the highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic.

The country’s overall count stands above 677,600, including nearly 13,000 fatalities.

“The arrival of these vaccines could not have occurred at a more opportune time considering the continued rise in cases, which in turn increases the need to inoculate more high-risk individuals as soon as possible,” Duque said in a written statement.

The shipment is in addition to the 600,000 doses that arrived in the country on Feb. 28, he added.

Huang Xilian, China’s ambassador to the Philippines, said he was hopeful the new shipment will help accelerate the country’s mass vaccination drive and contribute toward reviving its economy.

The Philippines launched its vaccination campaign on March 1, shortly after receiving the first batch of Sinovac jabs.

The country has also received an initial 526,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the UN-led COVAX initiative.

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* Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian language service

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