Over 30,000 Filipinos given free COVID-19 shots in Israel

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 17) — The Israeli government said it has vaccinated more than 30,000 Filipinos as part of its massive COVID-19 inoculation drive.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines said free shots of the Pfizer vaccine have been given to around 30,000 Filipino caregivers, 400 agriculture students, and the staff of the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv. These include even those with expired working permits, the Israeli embassy said.

“Israel is thankful for the Filipino caregivers for helping the elderly and the disabled Israeli citizens during the COVID-19 outbreak,” Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz said, noting that Filipino caregivers have full access to the country’s medical services.

“The free access to COVID-19 vaccine is another way of thanking them and ensuring their health and safety,” Harpaz added.

More than 5.2 million people, comprising over half of Israel’s population, have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, according to government data. Some 4.2 million have completed the two shots, making Israel a world leader in COVID-19 vaccination.

Meanwhile, the Philippines has so far received 1.125 million doses of the Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines, which are donations from China and COVAX, respectively. Some 215,997 health care workers have received their first dose. The government expects more Sinovac and AstraZeneca doses to arrive this March or April, enough to kickstart general public vaccinations by early May.