The government will hold another three-day nationwide round of anti-COVID-19 vaccination drive starting December 15 after 7.6 million individuals were inoculated during the first round that was extended until Friday.
The Department of Health said more than 2.71 million individuals were vaccinated on Monday, followed by 2.46 million on Tuesday and 2.45 million on Wednesday under the National COVID-19 Vaccination Days program.
Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said reports were not yet complete but stressed authorities were happy because the daily total was more than twice the government's daily vaccination rate.
The National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC), which Cabotaje heads, called on companies to excuse their employees who would participate in the extended national vaccination drive.
She said employees would no longer
be automatically excused from work as President Rodrigo Duterte only proclaimed November 29 to December 1 as the Bayanihan, Bakunahan National COVID-19 Vaccination Days.
Under Proclamation 1253, public and private sector employees may get vaccinated during these days without being marked absent from work, provided they present proof of getting vaccinated during these days.
Local governments have volunteered to extend the first round of the three-day vaccination push to "sustain enthusiasm," Cabotaje said.
"Due to high willingness to get vaccinated there is now a voluntary extension of vaccination days so we can sustain the public's enthusiasm to get vaccinated,” Cabotaje said.
Cabotaje said top performing regions were Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and Central Visayas.
The government aims to fully vaccinate 54 million by yearend to achieve population protection against the virus.
Of the 7.6 million inoculated from Monday to Wednesday this week, 85 percent received their first dose, three percent received booster doses, while the remaining were minors and those who received their second doses.
In related developments, COVID-19 vaccines set to expire in December 2021 and January 2022 will be distributed to areas that have registered high uptake rates, the NVOC said.
“We will distribute them to fast-consuming areas, and then we’ll deploy some to more areas so they can be administered,” Cabotaje said, adding the vaccines will be administered as first doses.
Cabotaje also said they had requested provinces and municipalities to deliver vaccines that were supposed to expire on November 30 to the regional offices of the Department of Health.
“We will check if they can still be used by looking at the shelf life…These are mostly AstraZeneca vaccine doses,” she added.
Cabotaje said they are still finalizing the number of wasted vaccine doses. (See full story online at manilastandard.net)
“It’s not even one percent but wastage is still wastage,” she said.
At the same time, the government will start administering COVID-19 booster shots to all fully-vaccinated adults Friday, December 3, the Department of Health said.
"Those who have completed their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines can be inoculated with the following brands regardless of which vaccines are taken in the first two doses," the DOH said in an advisory on Facebook.
Brands to be used are Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Sputnik, and Janssen.
The government at present administers boosters only to those under A1 category (frontline healthcare workers), A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (adults with comorbidities).
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said 30,000 vaccines against COVID-19 had been allocated for persons deprived of liberty under the Bureau of Corrections, which would be delivered to the various penal colonies until this weekend.
“At least 30,000 vaccine doses have been allocated for PDLs under BuCor’s jurisdiction. These vaccines will be farmed out to the various prison facilities of the BuCor for administration,” Guevarra said.