U.S. Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava joins Department of Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, USAID Philippines Acting Mission Director Sean Callahan, and other U.S. and Philippine government representatives to hand over the mobile testing and vaccination units at Quezon City Hall on November 8.
Manila, November 8, 2021—Today, the United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Quezon City government launched six new COVID-19 mobile testing units and one mobile vaccination team to support the city’s fight against COVID-19.
U.S. Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) ad interim Heather Variava also announced an additional Php565 million ($11.3 million) in USAID support to the Philippines through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This additional funding will strengthen the capacity of local governments to respond to the pandemic and fast-track vaccination in high-risk areas.
CDA Variava joined Department of Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, USAID Philippines Acting Mission Director Sean Callahan, and other U.S. and Philippine government representatives to hand over the mobile testing and vaccination units at Quezon City Hall.
The mobile vaccination and testing teams with 30 healthcare workers will bolster Quezon City’s testing efforts and vaccination coverage and ultimately benefit poor households, senior citizens, vulnerable groups, and hard-to-reach areas. The mobile testing initiative will contribute an additional 6,000 tests on top of the local government’s 20,000 monthly testing coverage, and the mobile vaccination team will contribute about 15,000 vaccinations monthly.
The U.S. government has been instrumental in expanding Quezon City’s COVID-19 testing capacities, establishing four community-based testing centers that contribute about 20 percent of the city’s monthly testing capacity. In line with the Philippine government’s plan to ramp up the nationwide vaccination rollout, USAID will also support Quezon City’s ProtekTodo campaign by mobilizing 10 healthcare workers to assist in vaccine operations in six key city districts.
“Months into the pandemic, the Quezon City government has worked tirelessly to get as many residents tested and hit our vaccination targets,” shared Mayor Belmonte. “Through USAID’s support, Quezon City is more resilient and responsive in protecting the lives of many, including the marginalized sectors.”
The United States is also the largest donor to the COVAX facility—the global mechanism for pooled procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The U.S. has facilitated the donation of almost 28 million vaccines to the Philippines through COVAX, including just over 18.5 million doses made available by the American people.
This year, the United States and the Philippines are celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations and 60 years of partnership for development through USAID.
“As we celebrate the important milestones of our fruitful partnership, we will continue to support the Philippines as enduring friends, partners, and allies in responding to the pandemic, getting the COVID-19 vaccines in people’s arms, and ensuring that no one is left behind as we build back better,” said CDA Variava.