Philippines optimistic it can vaccinate most health workers, seniors vs COVID-19 by mid-year

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS CBN News

Posted at Mar 10 2021 01:46 PM | Updated as of Mar 10 2021 03:22 PM

Philippines optimistic it can vaccinate most health workers, seniors vs COVID-19 by mid-year 1
Health workers inoculate their fellow medical frontliners with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the Ospital ng Maynila on March 9, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File 

MANILA — The Philippines eyes vaccinating most healthcare workers and senior citizens against COVID-19 by the middle of 2021, an official said on Wednesday. 

Authorities expect to get 1.4 million coronavirus shots from Beijing-based drug maker Sinovac Biotech this March, and another batch of doses from vaccine-sharing COVAX Facility, said Vince Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force against COVID-19. 

The World Health Organization, a leader of the COVAX Facility, committed to sending the Philippines an initial 117,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in April, he said. 

“Malaking bagay rin po ito, lalong-lalo na para sa ating healthcare workers na priority nating matapos hanggang buwan ng Abril at Mayo,” Dizon said in a televised public briefing. 

(This is a big matter, especially for our healthcare workers who are our priority from April to May.)

“Ang objective po natin ay by mid-year ay natapos na po natin ang ating mga healthcare workers, pati na rin ang ating mga senior citizens,” he added.

(Our objective is to finish inoculating by mead year our healthcare workers, as well as our senior citizens.)

The Philippines has received 600,000 Sinovac shots that China donated, and 525,600 doses of Britain's AstraZeneca vaccine through COVAX.

The country's 1.7 million health workers alone will require 3.4 million doses of 2-shot vaccines, said Dizon. 

After the elderly, people with co-morbidities, non-medical frontliners, and indigents are next in line to get COVID-19 jabs, he said. 

“Ang hinihintay lang po natin talaga ay iyong pagpasok ng mas maraming supply para matapos na po natin ang priority sectors natin at makapunta na po tayo sa general population,” added the official. 

(We are really just waiting for additional supply so we could finish our priority sectors and go to the general population.)

The Philippines aims to inoculate up to 70 million people or about two-thirds of its population against the novel coronavirus this year. 

Among the worst hit in Asia by the pandemic, the Philippines next eek will mark the first anniversary of its COVID-19 lockdown that left businesses struggling and millions jobless. 

Video courtesy of PTV