Blinken leads aid distribution

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed the United States’ support for the Philippines’ Covid-19 response as he led the turnover of medical equipment and supplies in Manila recently.

The US official reiterated the US government’s support to the country in its pandemic response, saying that both countries will “emerge better prepared for future health crises.”

Blinken led the handover of US government-donated personal protective equipment, testing kits, laboratory equipment and supplies, and hygiene kits which is expected to support the efforts of local medical facilities such as the Philippine Genome Center and the Bulacan Medical Center.

He said that the US 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.

On the sidelines of the handover ceremony, 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.

He also met eight civil society organizations with notable initiatives assisting communities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the US 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.

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