MANILA - Cebu City and Davao City on Tuesday received thousands of doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine as the government ramped up its vaccination drive against the disease.
Some 7,200 doses of the Chinese-made anti-coronavirus jabs were delivered at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City where nearly 2,000 medical frontliners will be first inoculated.
Meanwhile, some 12,000 vials of the Sinovac coronavirus vaccine were brought to Davao's Center for Health Development.
According to Department of Health-Davao Region director Dr. Annabelle Yumang, about 8,000 health workers in Davao City and Tagum City will receive their first dose starting Friday at the Southern Philippines Medical Center.
SPMC chief Ricardo Audan and Davao City health officer-in-charge Dr. Ashley Lopez will be among the first to be vaccinated in the south.
The vaccines, known as CoronaVac, were part of 600,000 doses donated by China. It arrived in the country Sunday.
The Philippine government launched its COVID-19 vaccination program on Monday, with health workers, uniformed personnel and other essential workers the first to be inoculated in the campaign.
Nearly a year into the pandemic, Philippines has recorded over 578,000 COVID-19 cases, including infections with the more infectious British coronavirus variant. It has tallied 12,322 fatalities.
The government aims to inoculate 70 million of its 108 million people this year to achieve herd immunity and reopen an economy that in 2020 saw its worst contraction on record, due largely to tight restrictions on movement in place since mid-March.
The Philippines was the last to start its immunization program and has a challenge not only to ensure supply of vaccines, but to convince its people to take them, amid concerns over safety.
- With a report from Annie Perez, Hernel Tocmo and Reuters