The Philippine government continues to scale up its vaccination rollout through the “Vax to the Max” strategy it is implementing together with the private sector.
The country’s rollout for the youth sector also continues to gain momentum, as 23 hospitals in Metro Manila are now conducting simultaneous inoculations of minors within the 12 to 17 age group.
According to National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr., the government is hoping other vaccine manufacturers will apply for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) with the Food and Drug Administration so their vaccines can be used to inoculate children.
On Friday, 698,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines procured by the private sector arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.
The Philippines also received over 1 million more Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines on Friday. About 813,150 doses of the US-made jabs arrived at the NAIA in Pasay City at 10 p.m., while 101,790 vials were delivered to the Cebu airport.
Another shipment of 101,790 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses were sent to Davao on Saturday.
The delivery of about 11 million doses of vaccines purchased by the private sector is expected to be completed by February next year.
“We have to vaccinate all the willing, and at the same time, we will concentrate on the successful vaccination of our children,” Galvez said.
As of Friday, 54,444,161 doses have been administered nationwide, of which 29,342,939 have been given as the first doses, while 25,101,222 individuals are now fully vaccinated.
Since Oct 1, the Philippines has recorded an average daily jab rate of 421,098 doses, in which 32.54% of the country’s target population is now fully vaccinated.
The delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines continues to increase by the month, as the country has received a total of 23,353,750 doses this month alone as of Oct. 22, wherein 8,843,065 doses were administered.
Out of the 94,678,340 doses that have arrived in the country since February, 58,723,760 were purchased by the national government, 24,330,280 were donations from the COVAX facility, 7,983,160 were purchased by local government units and the private sector, and 3,641,140 were donated by partner countries.
Meanwhile, a congressional leader on Saturday called on local government units to step up information drive on the importance of being protected against COVID-19.
Deputy Majority Leader and Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles noted this as the national government recently admitted the country’s vaccination rate has slowed down in the past few weeks.
“No less than our Vaccine Czar, General Carlito Galvez, pointed out at vaccine hesitancy in some of our communities. It will be very helpful for all of us if our good local officials will sweep through barangays and inform our people on the efficacy and safety of the vaccines our government offer," Nograles said.
Galvez, during President Duterte’s Talk to the People earlier this week, made public that about 39 million vaccine doses are currently stockpiled and admitted that vaccination rate has slowed down.
Official data from the National Task Force against COVID-19 confirms that weekly inoculations were down to an average of 375,773 last week from a peak of 523,018 during the first week of August.
“We need to assure our people that being vaccinated is crucial not just for public health but also for the economy. An effective information drive that will connect faster vaccination rates to speedy economic recovery will hit the mark as this is closer to their gut,” the Rizal solon explained.
According to a survey by OCTA Research released Saturday, 22 percent of Filipinos are still unwilling to be vaccinated against COVID-19 while 18 percent are undecided.
Nograles said: “While the number of those willing to be vaccinated increased from just 43 percent in July to 60 percent now, we still have to ensure that more and more people will be inoculated to ensure herd immunity.”
The Harvard-trained lawyer also suggested that LGUs may also be more creative by giving some benefits to those who are already fully protected.
“We can further address vaccine hesitancy by showing them the practical advantages of being vaccinated. We can probably exempt them from curfew hours or allow them to freely do things like playing sports like basketball that are limited now. I’m sure our LGU officials know what are the interests of their constituents that could help erase our current problems on vaccine demand,” Nograles added.