Philippines-South Korea ties

Korea donates cold-storage vehicles for Philippines’ vaccine drive

Sofia Tomacruz

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Korea donates cold-storage vehicles for Philippines’ vaccine drive

ASSISTANCE. (L-R) Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Korean Ambassador Kim Inchul, and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. at the Department of Health on February 15, 2022.

National Task Force against COVID-19

The 38 trucks and vans will aid the country’s COVID-19 vaccine drive as well as future immunization programs of the Department of Health

MANILA, Philippines – The Republic of Korea donated 34 refrigerated trucks and four service vans to the Philippines to support the Southeast Asian country’s ongoing coronavirus vaccine drive. 

The vehicles, equipped to handle the cold-storage requirements of vaccines, will be distributed among the 17 regions of the country through the Department of Health’s (DOH) regional offices to support the COVID-19 vaccine drive and future immunization programs, the Korean embassy in Manila said. 

“Korea has been working together with the Philippines from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Korea and the Philippines will keep working hard until we overcome this crisis,” Korean Ambassador Kim Inchul said during a handover ceremony held at the DOH’s headquarters on Tuesday, February 15. 

In a separate statement, the DOH said the donation was part of the Korean government’s $2.5-million assistance to the Philippines, which aims to improve the country’s cold chain network. 

Along with refrigerated vehicles, Korea has assisted in the country’s efforts to respond to the pandemic by donating testing booths, test kits, and personal protective equipment. To date, COVID-19-related assistance from Korea has grown to over $210 million or P10.6 billion and has included the following:

  • 510,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses
  • P200 million in budgetary support 
  • 970,000 masks
  • 167,000 hygiene kits
  • 1,200 PPE 
  • 530,000 swab test kits
  • 7 walk-through testing boots 
  • 2 extraction equipment
  • 6 isolation beds
  • Rice for 365,000 Filipinos 

Since the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines touched down in the country nearly a year ago in February, over 128 million doses have been administered. Key barriers in the government’s vaccination drive, however, have complicated a speedy rollout with uneven distribution, limited cold storage capacity in communities, and a lack of health workers. (READ: What prevents swift COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to Philippines’ provinces?)

Nearly a year into its vaccine program, the Philippines has fully vaccinated 54% of its total population. It aims to vaccinate at least 70% of Filipinos by March and 90% by June. – Rappler.com

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers defense and foreign affairs. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz.