THE UNITED States will donate $5 million or about P286 million to boost the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination campaign in the Philippines, according to the White House.  

“[The US] intends to invest $5 million to further accelerate vaccine rollout through the Global VAX initiative,” it said in a statement.   

The US government said it will also invest $8 million to strengthen its global health security partnership with the Philippines to “help prevent avoidable outbreaks, detect health threats early, and respond rapidly and effectively when outbreaks occur.”  

The $8-million potential investment is subject to availability of funds.  

The US has given the Philippines more than $46 million in COVID response assistance. Washington has also donated 33.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to the Philippines in partnership with COVAX, a global platform for equal vaccine access.   

“In addition, the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) have established a new country office in the Philippines. These efforts reflect the United States’ prioritization of US-Philippines health partnership under the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA),” the White House added.  

The Philippines has wasted more than 31 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, amounting to P15.6 billion, Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario S. Vergeire told ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo on Monday.  

Almost 70% of the wasted vaccines were procured by the private sector and local governments, she said.  

Short life spans and temperature excursions were among the causes of vaccine wastage, Ms. Vergeire noted. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza