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Philippines tops 10 million vaccine doses administered

Marc Jayson Cayabyab - The Philippine Star
Philippines tops 10 million vaccine doses administered
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III administers the 10 millionth COVID vaccine dose to 74-year-old Nieves Catacutan in a ceremonial inoculation at the Valenzuela Astrodome yesterday. Looking on are Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez.
Jun Mendoza

MANILA, Philippines — After more than a year of being forced to stay home amid the pandemic, there’s now freedom on the horizon for 74-year-old Nieves Catacutan, who received yesterday the 10 millionth COVID dose administered in the country.

In an interview, Catacutan said she was overjoyed on being informed that she would get the 10 millionth jab, as she had grown tired of minding the family’s sari-sari or micro convenience store and watching teleseryes due to strict quarantine restrictions especially for senior citizens. The vaccine rollout began in March.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III himself administered the Sinovac CoronaVac jab on Catacutan at the Valenzuela City Astrodome.

She said she now looks forward to finally getting out of the house with her grandchildren for the first time in many months.

“Masayang masaya ako dahil ako pa ang napili. Masayang masaya ako na makakapamasyal na ako (I’m so happy I got chosen, now I can go out and enjoy),” Catacutan, a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiary, said.

At a press briefing, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the 10 millionth jab is a “significant milestone” for the country as the national government aims to vaccinate 10 million individuals per month and achieve population protection before December.

“We have achieved a significant milestone, (although) 10 million is still small compared to the 70 million target,” Galvez said.

At least 1.4 million individuals were vaccinated in the past week, surpassing the target of one million, Galvez added.

“By July, we can vaccinate six to eight million, even 10 million a month. We can raise the bar to two million per week,” Galvez said.

National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 deputy chief implementer Secretary Vince Dizon said since the country started its vaccine drive last March, five million Filipinos have been vaccinated.

Another five million doses were administered for the month of June alone, which means the vaccination drive is accelerating as vaccine supply stabilizes, Dizon added.

He said he hopes the vaccination drive would be sustained amid the threat from the more infectious Delta variant.

“It’s a race against the new variant coming out,” Dizon said, citing the surge in cases in Indonesia.

Based on the DOH’s Vaccine Statistics report dated June 27, a total of 10,065,414 doses have been administered since the COVID-19 inoculation was rolled out on March 1.

A total of 2,527,286 have already completed the required two doses. “The total doses administered in the 17th week of our national vaccination reached a record high of 1,658,072 doses,” the DOH noted.

Data show that 1.13 million health workers or the A1 priority group have received complete vaccination while 710,84 people with comorbidities or A3 have received their full jabs.

However, of the 2.28 million senior citizens or A2 who got their first shots, only 672,602 have gone back to vaccination sites for their second jabs.

Data further show that 184,125 poor individuals or the A5 sector were administered their first shot.

Meanwhile, San Juan City has vaccinated 63,950 residents with at least one dose.

Mayor Francis Zamora said the city is targeting to fully vaccinate – meaning with two doses – its target population for herd immunity by the end of August. San Juan has a population of over 122,000.

Zamora announced that a third vaccination site will be set up at V-Mall in the Greenhills Shopping Center. “This will allow us to increase our daily vaccination capacity to around 4,000 up to 5,000 a day.”

Grab Bayanihan

Grab Philippines, meanwhile, is providing service that will carry passengers to and from vaccination centers.

Called GrabCar Bayanihan, the initiative is part of Grab Philippines’ broader program to support easier access to vaccines and encourage people to get vaccinated through the local government units. The service involves only vaccinated drivers and is cheaper than the regular GrabCar two-seater. The program was initially tested in Quezon City.

It will be available in Manila, Las Piñas, Taguig, Pasig, Makati, Quezon City, Pateros and Marikina.

Apart from providing safe mobility solutions to support the vaccination programs in Metro Manila, the new service is also seen to provide much-needed livelihood opportunities for Grab driver-partners residing in these cities.

“Grab remains committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of our kababayans, most especially during these challenging times. By working together with our local government partners in Metro Manila on their COVID vaccination efforts, we play our part in ensuring that our kababayans are safe, well, and healthy – and we look forward to working on the same goals with the rest of our national and local government partners,” Grab Philippines country head Grace Vera Cruz said.

“As we all work toward a safe and gradual recovery for our communities, Grab will continue to leverage its platform and technology to ensure that our kababayans have the means to get inoculated,” Vera Cruz said. – Sheila Crisostomo, Neil Jatson Servallos, Richmond Mercurio

COVID-19 VACCINE

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