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Galvez recommends priority areas for COVID-19 inoculation as vaccine delivery delays seen

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Galvez recommends priority areas for COVID-19 inoculation as vaccine delivery delays seen
Residents of Old Balara in Quezon City queue at the Old Balara Elementary school during the continuation of the vaccination program for A1 to A3 category on Monday, May 3, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The government’s vaccine chief has recommended areas to be prioritized in the inoculation program as the country anticipates delays in vaccine deliveries due to the surge of COVID-19 infections in India.

The devastating second wave in the South Asian nation, which is home to the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer, is a blow to global vaccine distribution as the jabs produced by the Serum Institute of India represent the main supplies to the COVAX vaccine sharing initiative.

To address this, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. suggested that areas with a high number of infections, such as Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces, should be prioritized in receiving limited vaccine doses.

“Considering that we’re going to have a shortfall in our supply, we are recommending that we have prioritization,” Galvez said in a taped speech Monday evening.

“Meaning, we will look into areas with social and economic importance,” he added.

Galvez, who also serves the chief implementor of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, recommended the following priority areas for inoculation:

Luzon

  • Metro Manila
  • Calabarzon
  • Central Luzon
  • Baguio City
  • Cordillera Administrative Region
  • Cagayan Valley

Visayas

  • Metro Cebu City
  • Bacolod City
  • Iloilo City
  • Central Visayas
  • Western Visayas
  • Eastern Visayas

Mindanao

  • Davao City
  • Cagayan de Oro City
  • Zamboanga City
  • General Santos City
  • Iligan City
  • Davao region
  • Zamboanga Peninsula
  • Northern Mindanao

By prioritizing these areas for the vaccination drive, the government only needs to inoculate 50 to 60 million Filipinos to achieve herd immunity, Galvez said. The government’s initial plan was to vaccinate 70 million people by the end of 2021.

Since the start of the country’s vaccination program in March, over 1.6 million people have received first dose, while fewer than 300,000 are fully vaccinated.

The Philippines is combating a spike in infections that has raised its caseload to more than a million, including over 17,000 fatalities.

COVID-19 VACCINES NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 4, 2022 - 9:06am

The national government has so far secured two official deals for COVID-19 vaccine supplies in the Philippines, one with Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac and another with the Serum Institute of India.

Watch this space for bite-sized developments on the vaccines in the Philippines. (Main image by Markus Spiske via Unsplash)

January 4, 2022 - 9:06am

Government must increase vaccination capacity across the Philippines in anticipation of a surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant of the corona virus, Sen. Risa Hontiveros says.

She says local government units and the private sector can work together to put up more vaccination centers and deploy more vaccination teams to get more people inoculated against COVID-19.

"The active COVID cases have nearly doubled in three days. The positivity rate is almost four times the ceiling set by the World Health Organization. Huwag na nating hintayin na sobrang lumala pa ang sitwasyon bago tayo gumawa ng paraan para mapabilis ang ating pagbabakuna."

December 23, 2021 - 11:44am

FDA chief Eric Domingo says that its agency has given emergency approval for the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

November 11, 2021 - 7:30am

The United States immunized around 900,000 children aged five-to-11 against Covid in the first week the Pfizer vaccine was authorized for them, a White House official says Wednesday.

Roughly 700,000 more have made appointments at pharmacies, White House Covid coordinator Jeff Zients tells reporters.

"The program is just getting up to full strength," he says, adding most of the shots were given in the last couple of days alone. — AFP

November 8, 2021 - 7:56pm

The Philippines has received 2.8 million doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines from Russia.

The shipment arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on Monday night and was met by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

November 7, 2021 - 11:57am

A Department of the Interior and Local Government proposal to require Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries to get vaccinated before cash transfers to them can be released will not help the poor, Sen. Risa Hontiveros says.

"Walang kundisyon sa 4Ps law na kailangang COVID-19 vaccinated ang recipients kaya dapat igalang at irespeto ng ating mga opisyal ang desisyon ng sinuman ukol sa pagbabakuna," she says. 

(The 4Ps Law does not include the condition that recipients must be vaccinated against COVID-19 so the government must respect people's decision to get vaccinated or not)

She says it would be better for government agencues like the social welfare and health departments to encourage 4Ps beneficiaries to get vaccinated but not as a condition to receive cash aid.

Hontiveros says encouragement and explanations have helped address vaccine hesitancy in Metro Manila.

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