Gov't aims to vaccinate 25 million 'vulnerable' Filipinos
This May 6, 2021 shows a vaccination hub in Marikina City.
The STAR/Boy Santos

Gov't aims to vaccinate 25 million 'vulnerable' Filipinos

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - May 11, 2021 - 8:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — The government aims to inoculate at least 25 million people within the third quarter as part of its goal to achieve a "better Christmas" this year.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. said the 25 million would come from the most vulnerable sectors namely health care workers, senior citizens and people with comorbidities.

"Our target is we should have a better Christmas this year. So our strategy is to achieve the 25 million, the most vulnerable. According to WHO (World Health Organization), this is what we call burden of disease, burden of death and burden of hospitalization," Galvez said during a meeting of the government's pandemic task force last Monday.

"If we (vaccinate) them, we can contain death and the fatalities. We have low and high targets wherein once we achieve the 25 million, at least we will have what is called the initial herd containment," he added.

The government's high target for herd containment is inoculating 50 million people by September, according to Galvez's report during the meeting. For herd immunity, the low target is vaccinating 58 million people while the high target is administering COVID-19 shots to 70 million people by November. Herd immunity was defined by the World Health Organization as indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune through vaccination.

The government is hopeful that COVID-19 would be eliminated by the second quarter of next year. It expects 110 million Filipinos to have been immunized against the disease by that time.

"Once we have already have the science that we can give the vaccine even to the children, we will target the 110 million population," Galvez said.

As of May 10, more than 2.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered while 1.9 million individuals have been inoculated.

Galvez said the government is employing a "focus and expand through center of gravity" wherein the economic centers and vulnerable areas would be prioritized in the vaccination program.

"If we address this, we can strengthen our vulnerabilities and at the same time we strengthen our economic strength," the vaccine czar said.

Galvez said the focus areas would be Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Pampanga, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao.

Expansion areas for the vaccination or those that are contiguous with Metro Manila and economic centers outside the capital region will be subdivided into four groups.

The first group is composed of Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Cagayan de Oro, Baguio City, and Zamboanga City while the second group consists of Bacolod, Iloilo, General Santos, Iligan, Central Visayas, and Davao Region. The third group is composed of Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Cagayan region, and Cordillera region while the fourth group consists of Bicol, Ilocos region, SOCCSKSARGEN, and Caraga.

Galvez said the aim of the strategy is to vaccinate 58.68 million or 70 percent of the 83.82 million residents in the expansion areas.

"If we have a good global supply (of vaccines), we won't have any problem," he said.

Galvez said 1.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines developed by American firm Pfizer and 500,000 doses of jabs made by Chinese drug maker Sinovac are expected to arrive this month. He said negotiations are ongoing for the delivery of two million doses of Russia-made Sputnik vaccines.

"If all these vaccines arrive, we would have an inventory of 11,364,000 (vaccine doses)," the vaccine czar said.

Galvez said the Philippines' vaccine inventory would increase to 20.5 million doses in June if all deliveries arrive as planned. 

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 17, 2021 - 5:29pm

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)

June 17, 2021 - 5:29pm

The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines for private sector use arrives in the Philippines on Thursday.

At least 1.5 million does of Chinese-made Sinovac vaccines lands in Manila, 500,000 of which will be for the sole use by companies and private organizations for their inoculation efforts for employees and qualified personnel.

This is part of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry's tripartite agreement with IP Biotech, Inc. and the national government. — Photo release from FFCCCII

June 15, 2021 - 12:23pm

Japan is donating AstraZeneca vaccines to the Philippines, Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko announces on his Twitter account.

"[W]e'll make sure to deliver them at the soonest possible time so no one gets left behind during this pandemic," he also says.

June 11, 2021 - 12:13pm

Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo says that as far as he knows all of the sitting justices of the Supreme Court have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

He says the court asked for justices to be classified as A4. Some of the justices are also already senior citizens.

June 10, 2021 - 8:58pm

More than 2 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines from the Covax facility arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Thursday night.

More than 200,000 doses will be distributed to Cebu and Davao while the remaining doses are for Metro Manila.

June 10, 2021 - 7:48am

Another 1 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine have arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Vaccination of economic frontliners, or workers in the A4 category, kicked off this month.

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