514,655 Filipinos complete COVID-19 vaccination, 2 months since efforts began
Health workers and other members of vaccine proriority groups receive their second shot of Sinovac's COVID-19 jab at Marikina Elementary School on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.
The STAR/Boy Santos

514,655 Filipinos complete COVID-19 vaccination, 2 months since efforts began

Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) - May 12, 2021 - 7:26pm

MANILA, Philippines — Government figures on Wednesday showed 514,000 Filipinos now fully vaccinated for COVID-19, but the daily average is still a concern two months since inoculation efforts in the country began.

The Department of Health said 6.4 million of the 7.76 million doses that the Philippines has had been distributed as of May 11.

Of the number, some 2.5 million doses have since been administered in 3,688 vaccination sites across the country, with 2.02 million Filipinos receiving their first shot.

Three regions had the most number of doses: Metro Manila with 2.5 million, Central Luzon with 631,620, and Calabarzon with 446,180. 

Most of these areas form the 'NCR Plus' or the capital region with Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan. Government has sought to allocate more jabs in the quarantine bubble to arrest the surge in infections.

Fast-tracking inoculations

The country now has a seven-day average of 67,780 daily vaccinations, up by nearly a half from the 36,491 last week. Officials are targeting to inoculate 50 to 70 million this year in a bid to reach herd immunity.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez has repeatedly touted that the Philippines is among countries in Southeast Asia leading in its rollout. 

But many have sought to point out that his assertion fails to acknowledge the number of vaccinations done per population.

Dr. Tony Leachon, an ex-government advisor, said inoculation efforts remain quite slow despite the country's supply of AstraZeneca jabs expiring by June and July.

"I don't think the challenge will be the supply, but the vaccine administration and acceptance of the people," he said in an exchange with Philstar.com.

Leachon added that public awareness on the jabs should be improved, along with good supply chain management, to vaccinate more people "at the fastest time possible and least amount of wastage."

Some of the solutions he proposed to avoid the AstraZeneca doses from going to waste is to identify local governments' capacity to administer the jabs, and have them commit to a target number.

Villages and barangays should also be allowed to set up vaccination sites done with their LGUs that can be more accessible.

"Local communities can provide the venue and the manpower for organizing, promoting, encoding, and screening," Leachon said. "While the LGU, through the help of DOH, provides the health workers to do the vaccination, inventory, and waste management."

Four vaccine shipments have been delivered to the country this May, or the first 15,000 doses of Sputnik V, 1.5 million Sinovac doses, as well as the more than 2 million AstraZeneca and 193,050 Pfizer doses from the COVAX facility.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 15, 2021 - 12:23pm

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 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.

June 7, 2021 - 10:21am

The government marks the rollout of vaccines for the A4, or economic frontliners, category with a ceremony at a mall in Pasay City.

Around 35 million Filipinos are in the priority group, which has been expanded to include all who are required to physically report to work.

Pandemic restrictions have seen some Filipinos shift to remote work or work-from-home arrangements but many employees, especially those in the service sector, do not have that option.

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