China to donate 500,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to PHL

President Rodrigo Duterte receives China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi at Malacanang Palace on Saturday, January 17./PCOO/

(Eagle News) — China has pledged to donate 500,000 vaccine doses to the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

In a statement, the DFA said China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced the Secretary of China’s intention in a courtesy call to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Saturday, January 16.

The pledge was apart from China’s grant of 500 million Chinese renminbi to “finance livelihood projects, infrastructure facilities, feasibility studies for major projects and other mutually agreed projects” under the Philippines-China Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation, according to the department.

A separate statement from the Presidential Communications Operations Office said Wang, who later paid President Rodrigo Duterte a courtesy call, said China would complete pending infrastructure projects, noting the finalization of the Samal Island-Davao City Connector Project and the Subic-Clark railway agreements this week.

President Duterte, for his part, lauded the continued high-level engagement between the Philippines and China even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that cooperation on public health must be strengthened, particularly to ensure access to safe and effective vaccines to safeguard public health and to hasten the economic recovery of both countries and the larger region.

“The recovery of nations..sits on the back of stronger economies. China plays a very key role in reviving our region’s economy. Let us do all we can to revive economic activities between the Philippines and China,” the President said.

The Philippines has so far made an agreement with China’s pharmaceutical firm, Sinovac.

The Sinovac vaccines are expected to arrive by February.

The Philippine government has said it was targeting COVID-19 vaccination of 50 to 60 percent of the population to achieve herd immunity.

Herd immunity takes place when most of the population is immune to an infectious disease, giving indirect protection to the rest.