MANILA -- National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. said the Philippines was able to celebrate a better Christmas in 2021, thanks to the efforts of the government.
In his yearend message, Galvez said that although the government faced challenges in procuring vaccines in the first quarter of the year, it was still able to procure and secure vaccines for the people.
"However, one major advantage the Philippines had was a solid game plan on how we would secure these life-saving vaccines. The Philippine National Vaccination Roadmap outlined our country’s strategy on how we would efficiently source these COVID-19 jabs," he said.
"We then focused on developing a vaccine portfolio that would enable our country to acquire vaccines not only from one manufacturer but from multiple sources. If any of the vaccine makers had production or logistical issues, the other suppliers could fill in the gap," Galvez added.
Galvez also noted that 100 percent of the target population of the National Capital Region has already been vaccinated, with other provinces catching up.
"As what we have said, vaccine supply is no longer a concern, as we now have sufficient doses to fully inoculate more than a 100 million Filipinos. The greater challenge now is how to get these COVID-19 jabs into the arms of our countrymen as soon as possible," he added.
The government is now eyeing to inoculate 77 million of the country's population before the 2022 national elections.
"As a result, our country is now moving closer towards achieving its goal of fully vaccinating 54 million Filipinos within this year, which is our target population, and fully inoculating 77 million of our countrymen before the national elections this year," Galvez said.
Galvez, likewise, reminded people that the Philippines is not yet out of the woods, with fresh COVID-19 cases rising again.
"We need to vaccinate as quickly as we can and use the Janssen vaccines which we now have in abundant supply," he said.
He also assured the public that the Duterte administration will continue to do its best in its final year.
"As the Duterte Administration enters its final year, the National Task Force on COVID-19 is committed to fulfilling its mandate of protecting the health of the Filipino people, as we revive our nation’s economy," Galvez said.
"As promised by President Duterte, the nation celebrated a better Christmas last year. And now, we look ahead to a better year," he added.
The Philippines fully vaccinated more than 49 million Filipinos by the end of 2021, falling short of its target of giving two doses of the COVID-19 jab to 54 million people by the end of that year.
As of Saturday, the Philippines has a total of 2,847,486 COVID-19 cases, with 51,545 fatalities and 2,778,567 recoveries.
Active cases are at 17,374.
Carlito Galvez, NTF Against COVID-19, COVID-19, coronavirus, COVID-19 vaccination