PH to get 539K AstraZeneca vax doses donation from SoKor

AstraZeneca vaccine (Photo courtesy of PNP-PIO)

The South Korean government has committed to augment  its pandemic assistance to the Philippines with the upcoming donation of 539,430 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine this month. The Korean Embassy in Manila said the donations are expected to arrive end of this month.

“The Embassy of the Republic of Korea is happy to support the Philippine government as it seeks to inoculate 15 million Filipinos during the National Covid-19 Vaccination Days from November 29 to December 1, 2021,” the Embassy said in a statement.

“The donation is part of the joint efforts made by Korea and the Philippines to protect public health and support the local response to Covid-19 in the Philippines by vaccinating Filipino people,” it added.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic outbreaklast year, the embassy has worked closely with partners from the Philippines, both to help protect front-liners and reduce the crisis’ impact on the livelihood of Filipinos.

The expected SoKor donation brings to US$210.7 million (about P10.67 billion) Korea’s Covid-19 assistance to the Philippines.

Some US$200 million of the amount is in the form of concessional loans to help the Philippines procure enough vaccines in 2021 and support its efforts in scaling up its Covid-19 response.

Korea’s concessional loan grant is at least 88.4% of the total amount, based on data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“It implies that the Philippines needs to repay only 12.6%  and 88.4% will not be repaid by the Philippines. Thus, Korea’s concessional loan provides very, very good terms to the Philippines,” the embassy said.

Apart from the loans, Korea has donated 530,000 swab test kits, seven walk-through booths, two extraction equipment, six isolation beds, 970,000 masks, 167,000 hygiene kits, and 1,200 units of personal protective equipment.

The Korean Embassy said at least 34 refrigerated trucks for transporting Covid-19 vaccines and four trucks for transporting vaccine-related goods are likewise scheduled for delivery in January 2022.

This year marks 30 years of the Philippines’ and Korea’s development partnership, with the latter’s contribution to the country reaching US$2.1 billion in total.

Transportation infrastructure accounts for 47% of Korea’s official development assistance (ODA) to the country at about US$982 million while disaster risk reduction and humanitarian assistance account for 19% or US$410 million, according to the embassy.

Seoul’s ODA in agriculture, another priority sector, amounts to US$358 million.