A Philippine government official thanked China for the "steady and timely delivery of the life-saving vaccines" after the country received on Wednesday one more batch of the Sinovac CoronaVac vaccines.
Carlito Galvez, the chief implementer of the government's measures to combat COVID-19, told reporters at the airport in Manila that the fresh delivery completes the vaccines the Philippines purchased from the Chinese vaccine maker.
"Sinovac has truly been a very reliable partner of the Philippine government," said Galvez.
He said it was the China-donated Sinovac vaccines that helped his country kick-start a national vaccination program.
China has sustained the COVID-19 vaccine supply to the Philippines since the first delivery on Feb. 28. The Southeast Asian country kicked off its vaccination drive on March 1.
"We will not forget your kindness and compassion. You are really a friend who helped a friend in need," Galvez told China's Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian, who was also at the airport to receive the vaccines.
With the arrival of the latest batch of Sinovac vaccine, Galvez said the Philippines is closer to achieving population protection by year end.
In a brief statement to reporters at the airport, Huang expressed hope that the newly delivered vaccines will further bring down the infections in the Philippines and pave the way for the country's early recovery from the pandemic.
Philippine Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert Borje, who represented President Rodrigo Duterte, lauded the partnership between China and the Philippines. "As we can say, this is a partnership that works under Duterte's independent foreign policy," he said.
The Philippines has administered nearly 71 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Tuesday. More than 31.8 million people have been fully vaccinated. The government aims to vaccinate up to 70 percent of its 110 million population this year.
To date, the Philippines has received more than 124 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from different vaccine makers. More than 40 percent of the country's vaccine stockpile came from China.
As of Tuesday, the Philippines has more than 2.8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 45,808 deaths.