The COVID-19 vaccination of the general adult population has already begun while the inoculation of children with comorbidities will start on Friday, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.
The government made the move last month after the initial rollout of jabs to five priority sectors: health workers, the elderly, people with health risks, essential workers, and indigents.
Guidelines for the general public’s vaccination are based on the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force against Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and a DOH memorandum, said the agency’s spokesperson Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
“The vaccination of the general population has begun or may begin among adults,” Vergeire said.
“We call on local governments to designate special or dedicated lanes for senior citizens and persons with comorbidities.,” she said.
It is up to local governments whether to open the vaccination for walk-ins or require registration, she added.
Logistics are also being prepared for the inoculation of children aged 12 to 17 with health risks, Vergeire said.
She assured the public that the government has the capacity to monitor any adverse effects from the vaccination.
“We don’t need to worry,” she said in Filipino. “The government will not give the vaccine if it’s bad for children. Let’s remember that if it’s being given, the benefit outweighs the risks.”
Almost 86.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to the country, as of Sunday, of which, more than 49.6 million have already been administered.
More than 23.1 million people are already fully vaccinated, while nearly 26.5 million others have received their first doses.
The Philippines rolled out its vaccination program on March 1, a day after it received its first supply of the anti-coronavirus vaccines.
At the Palace, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government is on track to get herd immunity before the year ends since more than 100 million vaccine doses have been delivered since March.
In a press briefing Roque said the continued supply of vaccines coming into the country, especially this October, has made it possible for the national government to expand the vaccination program to the general population and to children ages 12 to 17 years old with comorbidities.
“Because of the steady supply of the vaccines, the initial rollout for the people with comorbidities and minors in the NCR will start Oct. 15,” Roque said.
The Palace official added that the vaccination of the general population will also begin this month of October, per the directive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, as stated in IATF Resolution No. 141.
Roque said a shipment of almost 1 million (918,450) doses of Pfizer vaccines arrived on Oct. 10.
The shipment is part of the 1.8 million total vaccine doses that were donated by the United States to the Philippines through the COVAX Facility. The remaining 924,300 doses are expected to be delivered later in the day, Roque said.
Meanwhile, some 1.3 million doses of Moderna vaccines were also delivered on Saturday, Oct. 9, of which 885,700 doses were purchased by the national government, while 477,600 doses were procured by the private sector.
There were also 2,132,140 doses of Moderna vaccines that were delivered on Oct. 8, of which 1,384,280 doses were procured by the national government and 747,860 doses were purchased by the private sector, he added.
There are now almost 50 million or 49,673,491 total vaccine doses that have been administered nationwide, according to the Oct. 10, 2021 National COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard. Of this number, 23,186,969 or 30.06 percent are fully vaccinated.