The Philippine Government, through the Department of Health (DOH), received more than 390,000 bivalent COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Lithuanian Government, tonight at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City. The ceremonial reception was led by Assistant Secretary Leonita P. Gorgolon, along with other representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Lithuanian Consulate in the Philippines, and the European Union.

As early as August 2022, the DOH has already started negotiations to get supplies of bivalent vaccines. Offered by the Lithuanian Government in January this year, the donated bivalent vaccines will help boost the Philippines’ COVID-19 response by providing protection against the original COVID-19 strain, SARS-CoV-2, and Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5. Apart from these donations, the DOH is also in constant contact with COVAX Facility with regard to getting additional doses of bivalent vaccines for the public.

In light of this, the DOH would also like to thank President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for his support in this process. Through his leadership, the approval and processes of the arrival of this donation were expedited – for the faster provision of further protection to the Filipino people.

On March 31, 2023, the DOH issued a Department Memorandum to provide guidance on the management and administration of the donated bivalent vaccines. The guidelines mentioned the prioritization of those to be inoculated, which include Healthcare workers (A1), Senior Citizens (A2), Individuals with Comorbidities, and those who are Immunocompromised (A3). The DM also states that an individual may be vaccinated with the bivalent vaccines after at least four (4) to six (6) months after their last booster vaccination.

“It is with great pleasure that we have received such generous donations from the Lithuanian Government and our sincerest gratitude to our partner agencies for being one with the DOH in seeing that within our reach is a bountiful future, one that is most achievable starting with ensuring that we have sufficient protection against the COVID-19 virus. To every Juan and Juana, we urge everyone to get the opportunity to gain longer and stronger protection by getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Together, let us move towards a healthier Pilipinas,” expressed by the Officer-in-Charge Health Secretary Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire.