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Galvez: 'Odette' made gov't miss yearend vaccination target

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Galvez: 'Odette' made gov't miss yearend vaccination target
Makati residents receive the first dose of the Sinovac vaccine at the Makati Coliseum.
Krizjohn Rosales, file

MANILA, Philippines — Citing Super Typhoon Odette as an unexpected impediment, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Friday said the government will not reach its yearend target of fully vaccinating 54 million Filipinos.

Galvez during a briefing aired by state media said in Filipino that the government’s inoculation campaign was “delayed by one week or two weeks because we had....an [unexpected] event where Odette was really big and hit six regions.”

“If only they were not hit, maybe we could have done 54 million,” he added.

Odette was the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, devastating several areas in the Visayas and Mindanao.

According to Galvez, the number of people fully vaccinated by the government has breached the 50-million mark, equivalent to 45.85% of the population. Some 1.79 million Filipinos have also received a booster shot since they were approved by local regulators in November. 

Galvez said the remaining 4 million people that the government was hoping to inoculate within the year will likely be vaccinated by the first or second week of January.

Officials will end the year having missed their already-downgraded target of 54 million.

The original target was 70% of the population which was the previous marker for herd immunity.

Local health authorities have since upped the herd immunity target to 90% of the population, citing the presence of COVID-19 variants in the country.

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