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

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
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

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: 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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