THE Philippines achieved another milestone in its national vaccination program on July 22 with the administration of 472,356 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines nationwide, the highest the country has registered so far.
With this development, 5,560,029 Filipinos have been fully vaccinated while 10,866,238 doses have been given as the first dose.
“We are now past the crawl and walk stages, as we gradually run towards our goal of inoculating half a million Filipinos per day this quarter. This is a preview of better things to come in the remaining six months of 2021,” National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr. said on Friday.
“Despite the inclement weather, our implementing units have remained resilient and are committed to inoculating more Filipinos. We are grateful to all front-liners in the government and the private sector who continue to serve the public despite the many challenges we continue to face,” Galvez added.
The NTF earlier announced that with the continuous arrival of vaccine supplies, including the donated single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the government will focus on protecting the most vulnerable sectors, particularly senior citizens (A2) and persons with comorbidities (A3).
In its latest report, the task force said the country’s vaccine throughput for the A2 and A3 priority groups continues to go up.
Out of the 16.4 million total jabs administered since the vaccine program started, 2.8 million were given as the first dose to senior citizens, while 1.4 million doses were given to them as the second shot.
Meanwhile, 3.5 million doses were administered to the A3 group as the first dose, while 1.8 million of the sector’s members are now fully vaccinated.
“Nakatutuwang makita na pataas nang pataas ang tiwala at kumpyansa ng ating mga mamamayan, lalung-lalo na ang ating mga senior citizens at may mga sakit at kapansanan sa mga bakuna laban sa COVID-19 (We are happy to see that the trust and confidence of our people, especially senior citizens, the sick and persons with disabilities in the vaccines is getting higher),” NTF deputy chief implementer and testing czar Secretary Vivencio Dizon said.
“The upward trajectory of our daily vaccination output in all priority sectors says so many things in the ongoing program — our vaccine supply inventory is expanding and the vaccine confidence of the Filipino people is increasing. We want to keep this trend as we aim for 750,000 daily jabs in the next quarter,” he added.
As of July 23, the Philippines has received a total of 30,985,130 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers.
The bulk of the supplies the country has received to date, consisting of 13.5 million doses, were delivered this July.
Galvez said around six million doses are still expected to arrive in the last week of the month.
Vaccine deliveries to the country, he pointed out, have been steadily going up monthly since February when only 600,000 doses were delivered.
The Philippines has been able to secure a total of 164 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for 2021.
These vaccines were acquired through procurement by the national government, private sector, and local government units, while the rest were sourced from the COVAX facility and bilateral donations.
An additional 26 million doses are still being negotiated by the national government with various vaccine makers to ensure that the country would have a stable supply in 2022, as the government prepares to vaccinate its pediatric sector.
Delta variant threat
With the confirmed local transmission of the Delta variant in the country, Galvez called on the public to do their share in protecting their family members and communities against the highly transmissible variant of COVID-19.
“The best way to stop and limit the spread of the Delta variant, along with getting the vaccine, is diligently complying with minimum public health standards – mask, hugas, iwas. If possible, put on double masks. We need to be more conscious because the virus continues to mutate. Kailangan mas paigtingin pa natin ang ating pagprotekta sa ating mga sarili (We should heighten efforts to protect ourselves),” he said.
“Protecting our health is a shared responsibility. This is not just about protecting yourself. Ito ang panahon ng pakikipagkapwa-tao. This is protecting everyone in your home, in your workplace, and everyone you interact with every day like drivers, supermarket personnel, and co-commuters,” he added.
Amid the surge in cases in the Asean region caused by the Delta variant, Galvez asked the public to be mindful and take extra precautions.
“At this point where many countries are now being devastated again by Covid-19, especially our neighbors in the Asean region, we need to empathize with them and show solidarity. This is a global crisis and we are battling the same enemy,” Galvez said