More than 27 million people across the country have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the government said on Tuesday, eight months since the inoculation program against the coronavirus disease kicked off in the country.
The number represents around 35 percent of the government's target of up to 77.1 million people for complete vaccination to be able to achieve herd immunity against the disease.
Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said at least 27,360,873 million people have completed their vaccination.
Authorities have so far administered some 59.3 million COVID-19 shots, including around 31.9 million first jabs, all over the country, Cabotaje said in a televised public briefing.
In Metro Manila, the epicenter of the outbreak, at least 8.5 million people or 87.78 percent of the target population have completed their COVID-19 vaccination, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a separate press briefing.
"Hopefully, by November or December, we will achieve a very high output, almost 100 percent of the target here in NCR," said Cabotaje, who chairs the National Vaccination Operations Center.
Metro Manila is home to nearly 13.5 million people and accounts for about a third of the country's gross domestic product.
"For the rest of the country, we are looking at the first quarter of next year to fully vaccinate the rest of the population all over the Philippines," Cabotaje said.
She previously said that at least 50 percent of the country's 110 million people may be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of the year, which is the lower threshold of the government's target.
The high-end target of 70 percent of the population may be achieved only in the first quarter of next year, she said.
Cabotaje said almost 100 percent of health workers, the top priority group, have been immunized.
However, only 57 percent of senior citizens, the second priority group, have completed their vaccination, she said.
"We need to push our A2 to get vaccinated," Cabotaje said, echoing the call of the World Health Organization.
Authorities eye vaccinating at least 1 million people a day. In the last several days, around 500,000 jabs were given daily, but this dropped to around 100,000 to 200,000 around the All Saints Day holiday on Nov. 1 and the day prior, Cabotaje said.
"We need all hands on deck. We need to help each other to meet the target of 1 million jabs per day,” she said.
The Philippines has received a total of 106.2 million coronavirus vaccine doses, of which 86.4 million have been deployed, Cabotaje said.
"With so much supply, there is no longer any reason for us not to get vaccinated,” she said.
The government announced last month a nationwide raffle of P3 million worth of prizes for those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.