Isn’t this sweet?

At least 30,400 Filipinos living in Israel have received free shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine, the Israeli embassy in Manila announced yesterday, including those whose working visas have expired.

The recipients were 30,000 Filipino caregivers, 400 students studying agriculture, and the staff of the Philippine embassy in Israel. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine is not yet available in the Philippines, where only donated vials of CoronaVac and AstraZeneca are currently being used in the Duterte government’s vaccination campaign.

Read: Promise? Duque vows to jab 450,000 medical workers with COVID vax each day

Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz said in a statement that giving Filipinos living in the Holy Land free vaccines is his government’s way of “ensuring their health and safety.”

“Israel is thankful for the Filipino caregivers for helping the elderly and the disabled Israeli citizens during the COVID-19 outbreak. For many years, the Israeli government has been providing the Filipino caregivers with full access to the advanced medical services of our country,” Harpaz said.

“Israel always took good care of the Filipino caregivers, and especially during this pandemic,” he added.

Israel is considered the world leader in COVID immunization, with 5.2 million out of 9.3 million residents receiving at least one shot of the vaccine. Meanwhile, 4.2 million residents in the Holy Land have received two shots of the vaccine.

However, critics have accused the Israeli government of failing to innoculate the Palestinians who are living in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Israelis eventually relented in February and have started vaccinating Palestinians who hold work permits.


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