U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed the United States’ support for the Philippines’ COVID-19 response during a turnover of medical equipment and supplies in Manila on August 6.
“As the Philippines continues to work to vaccinate people, to reduce the spread and save lives, my message is simple: The United States is with you,” Secretary Blinken said. “We will end this pandemic and emerge better prepared for future health crises by working together not only across governments, but across private sectors and across civil society.”
During his first visit to the Philippines as U.S. Secretary of State, Secretary Blinken led the handover of U.S. government-donated personal protective equipment, testing kits, laboratory equipment and supplies, and hygiene kits in the presence of U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson, Department of Health Officer-in-Charge Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire, and Manila City Mayor Dr. Honey Lacuna. This donation is expected to support the efforts of local medical facilities such as the Philippine Genome Center and the Bulacan Medical Center.
Secretary Blinken noted that the United States has unconditionally donated more than 33 million safe, effective vaccines to the Philippines and has provided more than $50 million to help train Filipino healthcare workers, boost the vaccine rollout, and support the country’s economic recovery.
“We thank the U.S. government for helping the Philippines respond to COVID-19 and protecting Filipinos with the much-needed vaccines and technical assistance. Your support helped save the lives of many Filipinos,” said Dr. Vergeire. “We cherish this long-standing health partnership, and we hope this level of commitment is sustained beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.”
On the sidelines of the handover ceremony, Secretary Blinken visited a pediatric vaccination site of the Manila City government at the Manila Zoo and inspected mobile jeepney vaccine clinics supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to encourage children’s vaccination and support the safe reopening of face-to-face classes.
Secretary Blinken also met eight civil society organizations with notable initiatives assisting communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The group included Love Education Philippines and the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation which have launched projects to increase children’s access to education during the pandemic and the AGREA Foundation whose “Move Food” Initiative has helped more than 28,000 farmers bring their produce to markets across the Philippines.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the United States government, through USAID, has helped train healthcare workers, establish quarantine facilities, enhance contact tracing, bolster laboratory surveillance, improve public health communication, enhance vaccine rollouts, and support economic recovery efforts.
The United States is the largest donor to the COVAX facility, the global mechanism for pooled procurement and distribution of COVID vaccines, and has contributed $4 billion to fund equitable vaccine access globally. By the end of 2023, COVAX will have provided enough vaccines to fully vaccinate one in every three Filipinos. More information on U.S. COVID-19 assistance to the Philippines is available through this fact sheet: https://ph.usembassy.gov/fact-sheet-u-s-covid-19-assistance-to-the-philippines/