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Goal of 500,000 doses a day doable â Palace
A health worker prepares an injection of the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine on February 7, 2021 at the Mignot Hospital in Le Chesnay near Paris.
AFP/Alain Jocard

Goal of 500,000 doses a day doable – Palace

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - June 22, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government remains optimistic that it will be able to administer 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines per day a condition needed to achieve herd immunity this year as it expects to receive more pandemic shots from both vaccine manufacturers and donors.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the Philippines was able to administer 322,000 doses a day so it is not impossible to achieve the 500,000 doses-per-day-target.

“We are just making sure that we will have sufficient supply (of vaccines) so we can achieve the 500,000 a day which is possible,” Roque said at a press briefing yesterday.

Roque cited the purchase of 40 million doses of vaccines from American drugmaker Pfizer, which are expected to arrive in August.

If the Philippines administers 500,000 doses a day, it can distribute the first shots or a total of 20 million doses in just 20 days, he added.

“So we are close to our goal because I repeat, we did not just wait for Pfizer. We started using other brands of vaccines,” Roque said.

“We have inoculated more than eight million, so by August, we will have vaccinated more people.

We may reach 12 million and we are aiming for between 50 and 70 million,” he said.

The government aims to inoculate at least 58 million persons by yearend.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. previously said 500,000 persons have to be vaccinated daily in the economic hubs of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Rizal, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao to attain herd immunity by Nov. 27.

The Philippines and Pfizer have signed a supply agreement for the purchase of 40 million doses of COVID-19 shots, bringing the total number of purchased vaccine doses to 113 million.

The administration has also secured 26 million doses of Sinovac, 7.5 million of which have been delivered; 10 million doses of Sputnik V, 180,000 of which have arrived; 20 million doses of Moderna and 17 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines.

Roque said the World Health Organization-led COVAX Facility has also committed to deliver 44 million doses to the Philippines this year. Chinese firm Sinovac is also expected to donate one million more doses, bringing the total number of doses that are expected to arrive in the country to 158 million.

“We expect 158 million doses, enough to cover our entire population,” Roque said.

About 16 million doses from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson are still under negotiation.

At the same press briefing, Roque said the government would study the proposal to segregate vaccinated employees and guests from those who have yet to avail of the pandemic shots.

“All suggestions have to be studied,” he said.

“But I think, since we have just vaccinated more or less eight million people, it’s not yet time to do that.

But that will be studied now that the number of vaccinated persons are increasing,” he added.

Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion previously said some businesses are considering segregating inoculated employees from those who are not yet vaccinated.

Asisstance to nearby provinces

“The local government of NCR Plus 8 has promised to help the nearby provinces once they finish their vaccination programs against COVID-19 for their residents. They said that they can transfer to the other regions to conduct vaccination.

That is what we had agreed upon to really help each other… We have seen the LGU, they are more than willing to accommodate all of them,” Galvez said last weekend.

He said the local governments of NCR Plus 8 also agreed to vaccinate even those individuals not from Metro Manila.

The National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF), which Galvez heads, said that as of June 20, a total of 8,407,342 doses have been administered.

NTF said, “6,253,400 have received their first those while 2,153,942 have already completed the required two doses. The total doses administered in the 16th week of our national vaccination reached a record high of 1,461,666 doses.”

The government is urging eligible populations belonging to priority groups A1 to A5 to register with their local government units, get vaccinated and complete the required number of doses as scheduled.

‘Protect HCWs at all costs’

Sen. Nancy Binay urged the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to come up with a comprehensive approach that will involve the full hierarchy of infection prevention controls, as well as systematic collection of data, on health worker infections.

“There is a need for us to plan ahead and protect health care workers at any cost in case they are exposed to new infections,” Binay said.

Binay made the call amid news that more than 350 doctors and medical workers in Indonesia acquired the more infectious Delta variant of COVID-19, with dozens hospitalized despite being inoculated.

Officials who fail to implement the minimum health protocols during the conduct of anti-COVID-19 vaccination program may be liable for neglect of duty, said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

Guevarra issued the comment amid questions about the failure to implement physical distancing among those lining up or waiting to be vaccinated.

He said the local government or those organizing the vaccination event should be made accountable if they fail to follow the basic protocols to prevent the spread of the virus.

Experts welcome

Sen. Leila de Lima has welcomed the government’s move to accept help from medical experts from Israel’s Ministry of Health to assist with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

“With Israel’s vaccination rate being among the highest in the world, the Philippines can learn and adopt best practices being applied in that country when it comes to vaccination, considering that our country is still lagging behind COVID-19 inoculation and that there is still unaddressed vaccine hesitancy among Filipinos,” she said.

Based on reports, Avraham Ben Zaken, Adam Nicholas Segal and Dafna Segol arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport last June 20. They will be in the country until June 25.

Sen. Imee Marcos has called on the government to get ahead of a global syringe shortage, as purchases and donations of COVID-19 vaccines for the country increase by the millions in coming months.

“The purchase of 40 million doses from Pfizer is good news but will there be enough low dead space (LDS) syringes which are now in short supply in the United States itself? Let’s hope our own supply does not stop our vaccination program in its tracks,” Marcos said.

Meanwhile, Sen. Risa Hontiveros is calling on the government to accelerate its current vaccination rate as the more virulent Delta variant wreaks havoc across the globe.

Quoting the IATF, Hontiveros said there are 17 cases of the Delta variant in the country. Health experts say while this is the most contagious variant yet, fully vaccinated people are at small risk of hospitalization and death. – Jose Rodel Clapano, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Evelyn Macairan

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