PH in talks with Israel for possible COVID-19 vaccine donation

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 18)— The Philippines has been in talks with the Israeli government for a possible donation of COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Thursday.

“Yes meron po (discussions for donation),” Galvez told CNN Philippines’ The Source, stressing that the two countries maintain a good relationship. “Meron kaming arrangement, tinatawagan na namin ang embassy natin sa Israel.”

[Translation: Yes there are discussions. We have an arrangement… we’re already calling our embassy in Israel.]

Galvez, in particular, bared that Israel is planning to donate its excess vaccines to the Philippines, which he said may go through different channels including the COVAX facility, a global initiative that seeks nations’ equitable access to the products.

“So it can be given through COVAX or can be given as donation to us,” he pointed out.

Galvez, however, did not provide details on the particular brand or amount of vaccines that may be shipped out.

The Israeli government on Wednesday announced it has inoculated more than 30,000 Filipinos currently residing in the Middle East country, with free Pfizer shots given to caregivers, agriculture students, and embassy staff.

Aside from Israel, China also earlier donated Sinovac vaccine doses, the first shipment to arrive in the Philippines. Another batch of 400,000 doses donated by China is likewise expected to come in this month, Galvez had said.