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China-donated COVID-19 vaccines to Philippines arriving Sunday

(Xinhua)    11:10, February 26, 2021

A woman wearing a protective face mask has her temperature checked during a COVID-19 vaccination simulation exercise in Manila, the Philippines, Jan. 19, 2021. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)

MANILA, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- The 600,000 doses of the Sinovac-made vaccine CoronaVac donated by China are due to arrive in the Philippines on Sunday, the Chinese Embassy to Manila said on Thursday, marking the first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccines.

"A friend in need is a friend indeed. The donation of vaccines is another testament to the solidarity as well as the profound friendship and partnership between our two peoples and two countries," Huang Xilian, China's ambassador to the Philippines, said in his Facebook feed.

"I want to thank all those who have worked so hard to make this happen! I hope the vaccines will help kick off the Philippines' mass inoculation campaign to curb the pandemic and allow Filipinos' life to return to normal at the earliest."

Huang said the friendship and partnership between China and the Philippines "will continue to grow and prosper as we fight the pandemic hand in hand."

The Philippines has approved the emergency use of the Sinovac vaccines.

Philippines' Health Secretary Francisco Duque has vouched for the safety of Sinovac, saying its efficacy rate is 100 percent in preventing severe COVID-19 infection.

"Sinovac belongs to that group (of vaccines) that offers or provides 100 percent efficacy or effectiveness," Duque told Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during a meeting Wednesday night.

The Department of Health (DOH) said the government is finalizing the arrival ceremony at a military airbase in Manila.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told a news conference on Wednesday that Duterte is grateful for the Chinese donation and wants to personally witness the vaccine's delivery to show his "debt of gratitude" to China.

Roque said frontline health workers are on the priority list to get the vaccine.

The DOH said at least 14,791 health care workers had contracted COVID-19, and 82 died from the disease.

The DOH said it is still evaluating the details of the vaccines' allocation and rollout.

The Philippines now has 568,680 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 12,201 deaths.

The government aims to inoculate up to 70 million Filipinos this year. It is negotiating to buy 148 million vaccine doses from different pharmaceutical firms.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Meng Bin, Liang Jun)

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