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Government eyes monthly mass COVID-19 vaccination

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Government eyes monthly mass COVID-19 vaccination
A medical worker prepares the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 at a gym in San Juan City, suburban Manila on February 7, 2022.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The government is looking at conducting its mass COVID-19 vaccination program monthly to ramp up vaccination efforts in all areas in the country, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said yesterday.

“So now we will expand the vaccination and will try to reach far-flung areas or those without access to health services. We are looking into whether it will be possible to have a monthly Bayanihan Bakunahan,” Vergeire said in Filipino during a Malacañang press briefing.

Vergeire said the Philippines has an existing vaccine supply of 225 million doses, of which 171 million doses have been distributed across the country. “We still have a stockpile in our warehouses,” she said.

Meanwhile, acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said the country has sufficient jabs and efforts to ensure enough supply will continue despite tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

“We have secured the necessary supply of vaccines here in our country but of course, the next phase of our vaccination is the pediatric. That is what we are currently securing, especially those five to 11 years old,” Nograles said.

“But we’re also very confident that whatever happens, with the tensions happening now in Ukraine, with the international community also, (we) will ensure that the vaccine supplies needed for the Philippines will not be hampered or delayed,” he added.

90 M target

The government is targeting to vaccinate 90 million Filipinos before the end of June this year, National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said yesterday.

Galvez said the government aims to administer 72.16 million booster shots to the adult population, 12.74 million individuals aged 12 to 17 and 15.56 million children aged five to 11 years old.

For the vaccination of children zero to four years old, Galvez said preparations are ongoing and inoculation will begin in the second quarter of 2022.

“The Philippine government is just waiting for the green light from the regulatory bodies of the United States, United Kingdom and European Union,” he added.

Meanwhile, 769,860 Pfizer jabs donated by the US government are expected to arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 aboard Air Hong Kong flight LD456 from the COVAX Facility.

Ramp up vaccination

As the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to decline, Sen. Sonny Angara urged the government to promptly vaccinate more Filipinos.

“It is also time for the authorities to catch up on the administration of booster shots as only eight million have so far received their third doses. We should be just as aggressive in promoting and delivering these booster shots so that we can provide our people with ample protection against COVID,” said Angara, principal sponsor of Republic Act 11525 or the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act.

He reminded LGUs to work on conducting door-to-door visitations of their senior residents to check on their vaccination status. – Jose Rodel Clapano, Rudy Santos, Cecille Suerte Felipe

COVID-19 VACCINATION

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