MANILA - The Philippines can inoculate 50 to 70 million of its citizens against COVID-19 by the end of the year if vaccine supplies arrive on time, an official leading the country's immunization drive said Sunday.
The country will get some 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines under the global alliance COVAX Facility in the first quarter, including 117,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine expected to arrive by the third week of February, said vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.
Government aims to vaccinate some 70 to 80 million Filipino adults to achieve herd immunity, he said.
"Sa best case scenario po, kung meron po tayong enough supply at naging successful ang negotiation natin, by December, kaya po natin 50 to 70 million," Galvez told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
"Kung magkakaroon po tayo ng shortage ng supply, worst case scenario po natin, middle of 2022 po," he added.
(Our best case scenario, if we have enough supply and our negotiations are successful, by December, we can inoculate 50 to 70 million. If we encounter a shortage, our worst case scenario is middle of 2022.)
The country has so far signed term sheets with 5 drugmakers amounting to some 108 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Galvez said. This is on top of the 44 million that the World Health Organization said it would give under the COVAX Facility, he added.
"More or less 152 million doses na po tayo. Kung titingnan po natin, ididivide po natin sa dalawa, meron na po tayong more than 75 million na mababakunahan," he said.
(More or less we have 152 million doses. If we divide it to two, we can vaccinate more than 75 million people.)
Health workers in COVID-19 referral hospitals that first responded to the pandemic will be prioritized, according to Galvez.
The Philippines has logged 535,521 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Saturday, including 35,946 active infections, 11,110 deaths, and 488,465 recoveries.