News Release

President Duterte urges Filipinos to take COVID-19 shot as Japan donates jabs

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte witnessed the arrival Thursday of more than 1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from Japan, as he reiterated his administration’s firm commitment to acquire sufficient supply of COVID-19 jabs and at the same time encouraged Filipinos to shun vaccine hesitancy.

“To my fellow Filipinos, please know that we remain committed to acquiring a sufficient supply of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for all of our countrymen,” President Duterte said in a speech during the event at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

“I therefore urge everyone to get vaccinated and help prevent the further spread of the virus. We should all continue to follow safety and health protocols, even when fully vaccinated.”

“Together, let us beat the pandemic and ensure our way towards a better and brighter tomorrow.”

The President expressed his gratitude to the government of Japan and to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga for working with the Philippine government in ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The arrival of 1,124,100 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines, he said, will boost the government’s mass immunization campaign aimed at achieving herd immunity.

Japan continues to be the Philippines’ strong partner in various development programs, and their cooperation in fighting the pandemic is an indication of the deep friendship between the two countries.

He also commended the National Task Force Against COVID-19, and the Department of Health (DOH) for ensuring the successful delivery, distribution, and rollout of vaccines in the country.

“Let me assure everyone that, throughout our vaccination roll out, we will prioritize the safety and quality of all the vaccines that we are distributing across the country,” he stressed.
“Our health authorities are also actively collaborating with their international counterparts in continuing studies on vaccine safety and efficacy.”

The Japanese government has spearheaded vaccine donations to support the fight of Southeast Asian countries against COVID-19. Thursday’s shipment was part of the assistance extended by Japan to the Philippines since the start of the pandemic.

Since last year, it has provided aid to the country through the Crisis Response Emergency Loan (CRESL), Post-Disaster Standby Loan Phase 2 (PDSL 2), procurement of medical equipment, and a grant for cold chain facility development.

Joining the President were Japan Economic Minister Masahiro Nakata, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, National Task Force Deputy Chief Implementer Secretary Vivencio Dizon and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert E.A. Borje. PND