The United States is sending three million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines, the White House said Friday.
A White House official told reporters the shipping process began Friday and that the doses would arrive “early next week.”
The U.S. is providing the doses through COVAX, a campaign to provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccine worldwide, the official said.
The White House official said the U.S. is not contributing the doses to the Philippines “with strings attached” but because, “It’s the right thing morally, the right thing from a global public health perspective, and right for our collective security and well-being.”
America’s vaccine donations to the Philippines “represents the largest-ever purchase and donation of vaccines by a single country,” according to the official.
The U.S. has donated $2 billion to COVAX and will buy 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for distribution this year to the African Union’s 55-member nations and “92 low and lower middle-income countries” as defined by COVAX, the official said.
The White House announcement to provide doses to the Philippines came on the same day Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reversed a decision to end a vital defense agreement with the U.S., as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrapped up a visit to the country on Friday.
The deal regulates the rotation of U.S. troops in and out of the Philippines for war drills and exercises. The agreement became increasingly important to the U.S. and its allies as they contend with an increasingly aggressive China.
White House Bureau Chief Steve Herman contributed to this report.