Philippines has vaccinated around 29,000 out of 70 million target

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 08 2021 05:10 PM | Updated as of Mar 08 2021 06:17 PM

Philippines has vaccinated around 29,000 out of 70 million target 1
Medical frontliners from the San Juan Medical Center get inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine at the Filoil Flying V Arena on March 6, 2021. On the same day a year ago, the first local transmission of COVID-19 in the country was detected in San Juan City. The patient was confined at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Philippines has vaccinated at least 29,000 people out of its 70 million target this year, Malacañang said on Monday. 

President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque said 29,266 frontliners have received COVID-19 shots. He did not say how many of them received vaccines from Beijing-based drug maker Sinovac Biotech and Britain's AstraZeneca.

"Ngayong nandiyan na po ang bakuna, mga frontliners, huwag na pong mag-atubili, huwag nang mag-antay, magpabakuna na po dahil kayo ang aming mga sundalo laban dito sa coronavirus na ito," Roque said in a press briefing.

(Now that our vaccines are here, frontliners, do not hesitate or wait. Get vaccinated because you are soldiers in the fight against coronavirus.)

The Philippines received its first stock of 600,000 Sinovac shots through a donation by China on Feb. 28. Officials have since taken delivery of 525,600 more AstraZeneca doses through the vaccine-sharing COVAX facility. 

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Battling one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Asia, the Philippines aims to vaccinate up to 70 million of its 108 million people to achieve herd immunity and reopen an economy that in 2020 saw its worst contraction on record. 

There are 305 days between March 1, when the Philippines launched its vaccination campaign, and Dec. 31. 

To reach its target, the Philippines would need to vaccinate about 229,000 people a day.

This daily figure needs to be doubled if 2-shot vaccines will be used.

"Kampante po tayo na dumating lang ang mga bakuna ay makakamit natin ang target. Bakit po? Well, kaya lang naman po tayo mabagal ngayon kasi binigyan nga natin ng pagkakataon na tumanggi ang mga health workers," said Roque. 

(We are confident that once the vaccines arrive, we would meet our target. Why? Our rollout is only slow because we gave our health workers a chance to refuse.)

Roque earlier said health workers could refuse a vaccine brand without losing their slot in the vaccine distribution.

This means that once Sinovac is rolled out to all referral, health department, and private hospitals, AstraZeneca will be offered to workers there in the same order, he said.

"Ang nangyayari po, iyong ating rollout ay parang naulit," Roque said. 

(What happens is it's as if our rollout is repeated.)

Mayors have said they can vaccinate their constituents in 3 or months, after priority groups, said the Palace official. 

"Tama po kayo ‘no na napakadami na dapat mabakunahan sa isang araw. Pero kakayanin po iyan kung nariyan na po ang ating mga bakuna," he added. 

(You are right that so many people should be vaccinated per day. But we can do that once the vaccines are here.)