The Philippines on Sunday accepted the delivery of 326,400 more COVID-19 vaccine doses from Moderna.
The National Task Force Against COVID-19 said 224,400 of the doses will be given to the government, while the remaining 102,000 jabs will be given to the International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said 12.9 million Filipinos have so far received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 11.2 million have been fully vaccinated, accounting for 15.88 percent of the target population.
Galvez earlier said that the country is expecting at least 22.7 million vaccine jabs this month.
On Thursday, the Philippines received 1 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses from China-based Sinovac.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Eric Domingo said the government plans to procure more doses of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine to bolster the country's inoculation efforts.
Domingo said the government is awaiting the donation of over 1 million doses from the Sinopharm vaccine, for which the FDA granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) in June.
“What I know is, there will be a donation of 1 million doses. After that, procurements will be done in following months,” Domingo said in Filipino on Dobol B TV.
Domingo said Sinovac, which is also made in China, is the most common vaccine used in the country, followed by AstraZeneca, and Pfizer. Sputnik V is still the lowest due to the limited supply, Domingo added.
President Rodrigo Duterte is fully vaccinated with the Sinopharm vaccine.
Meanwhile, Vice President Leni Robredo said the government must adjust its communication style to address vaccine hesitancy and to fend off panic.
In Bicol to attend her vaccination projects, Robredo observed there were people who were biased against some vaccine brands.
She said that in Iriga City, a vaccination center closed before 4 p.m. after no one wanted to get inoculated once the Janssen vaccine ran out despite having supplies of a different brand.
“If people weren't choosing certain vaccine brands, many more would be vaccinated,” she said, highlighting the need to convince the public to get inoculated with whatever brand of vaccine is available.
Robredo said communication should be clear to prevent crowds that trooped to vaccination sites in Las Piñas, Manila and Antipolo on the eve of the strict lockdown in the capital region, adding that these incidents would have been avoided if the government released a concise and unified statement.
“When different government agencies make different announcements, it adds to the confusion. For example, they said APORs cannot be driven to work by non-APORs, then they make contradictory statements the same day,” she said.
She also called on PhilHealth to settle their accounts with hospitals as the Delta variant threatens to overwhelm health facilities. Also on Sunday, Philippine National Police chief Guillermo Eleazar ordered an investigation to pinpoint the source of fake news that allegedly drove people to vaccination sites even without appointments.
Eleazar made the comment after inspecting a mall in Cubao, Quezon City, which served as a vaccination site. People were seen flocking to the site early Sunday, even though many of them did not have confirmed appointments, according to a report on radio dzBB.
The situation was like those in Manila, Antipolo City and Las Piñas City in recent days. Crowds arrived at vaccination sites after allegedly receiving fake information that only vaccinated people will be allowed to go out of their homes.
"We should learn from what happened in Manila and Las Piñas," Eleazar said.
In Quezon City, two barangay officials were issued a show cause order by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) after the required residents to present a vaccination card before they could be issued a quarantine pass.
QC Mayor Joy Belmonte on Sunday also threatened to file charges against netizens who post fake news on social media of overcrowding at vaccination sites.
“Accordingly, I would like to make the following requests: to those spreading this fake news (for whatever malicious reason), makonsensya naman kayo (have a conscience),” she said.
“You are literally endangering the lives of countless men, women, and children. Kung hindi kayo madadala sa pakiusap, kaso ng reckless endangerment, violation ng Cybercrime Law, at unjust vexation ang ihaharap namin sa inyo. To this end, I would like to appeal to our national law enforcement agencies to investigate these posts, and file the necessary charges,” Belmonte added in a statement.
She appealed to the administrators of the social media platforms, saying: “I hope that you can help curb the spread of this particularly dangerous type of fake news, and permanently ban those who use your platform to jeopardize the health and safety of others.”
Despite the fake news, she called on to the public to stay vigilant, to practice standard precautions and to stay safe.
“By now, many of us have seen the video footage of large crowds forming outside vaccine sites, which can easily become super-spreader events. Despite this, some shameless individuals continue to instigate these situations by spreading fake news on social media. These online saboteurs typically urge the public to line up outside vaccine sites for walk-in accommodations,” Belmonte said.
“To be categorically clear, Quezon City does not allow walk-ins in its vaccine sites. Hindi po maaaring magbakasakali at pumila lamang upang mabakunahan. May maayos na sistema po ng pre-registration at scheduling na patuloy na ipinatutupad sa ating lungsod,” she stressed.