Philippines to achieve population protection within the year

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star
Philippines to achieve population protection within the year
Residents receive a dose of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City on July 21, 2021.
The STAR / Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is “past the crawl and walk stages” and is now “gradually running” toward its goal of vaccinating half a million individuals per day,” vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Thursday.

“We are now past the crawl and walk stages, as we gradually run towards our goal of inoculating half a million Filipinos per day this quarter. This is a preview of better things to come in the remaining six months of 2021,” Galvez, who is also chief implementer of the National Task Force against COVID-19, said.

Galvez’s pronouncement came as the country administered 472,356 COVID-19 jabs last July 22, the highest daily inoculation rate so far.

He said 5,560,029 Filipinos have been fully vaccinated, while 10,866,238 have been given their first dose.

“Despite the inclement weather, our implementing units have remained resilient and are committed to inoculating more Filipinos. We are grateful to all frontliners in the government and the private sector who continue to serve the public despite the many challenges we continue to face,” Galvez said.

The NTF earlier announced that with the continuous arrival of vaccines, including the donation of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the government will focus on protecting the most vulnerable sectors, particularly senior citizens (A2) and persons with comorbidities (A3).

Out of the 16.4 million total jabs administered since the vaccine program started, 2.8 million were given as first dose to senior citizens, while 1.4 million doses were administered to them as second shot.

Meanwhile, 3.5 million doses were administered to the A3 group as the first dose, while 1.8 million of the sector’s members are now fully vaccinated.

“The upward trajectory of our daily vaccination output in all priority sectors says so many things in the ongoing program – our vaccine supply inventory is expanding and the vaccine confidence of the Filipino people is increasing. We want to keep this trend as we aim for 750,000 daily jabs in the next quarter,” NTF deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon said.

As of July 23, the Philippines has received a total of 30,985,130 doses of anti-COVID vaccines from different manufacturers.

Galvez said that around six million doses are still expected to arrive in the last week of the month.

He said that vaccine deliveries to the country have been steadily going up since February when only 600,000 doses were delivered.

All in all, the Philippines has been able to secure a total of 164 million doses of vaccines for COVID-19 for 2021.

These vaccines were acquired through procurement by the national government, private sector and local government units, while the rest were sourced from the COVAX Facility or donations.

An additional 26 million doses are still being negotiated by the national government with various vaccine makers to ensure that the country would have a stable supply in 2022, as the government prepares to vaccinate young people.

The government is also eyeing collaboration with private groups for the manufacture of vaccines locally.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently signed a memorandum of agreement with Glovax Biotech Corp. to set up a form, fill and finish plant for COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

Manny V. Pangilinan, chairman of the MVP Group, has expressed support for the establishment of a vaccine manufacturing plant in the country.

In his address at a recent APEC world leaders meeting, President Duterte emphasized the importance of technology transfer and collaborative efforts in the development of vaccines.

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