MANILA — The Philippines has vaccinated at least 114,000 people out of its 70 million target this year, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Palace spokesman Harry Roque said 114,615 have been vaccinated as of Wednesday, or 10 days since the country's inoculation program kicked off.
Roque said 25,538 got their COVID-19 shots on Wednesday, March 10, alone.
The Philippines received its first stock of 600,000 COVID-19 shots from Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech, 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.
Roque said 796,950 of these shots, including 440,450 Sinovac jabs and 356,500 Astra Zeneca doses, have since been deployed. A vaccine recipient needs to take two doses of the vaccine.
The Philippines so far has established 422 vaccination sites covering 176 local government units, he said.
Battling one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Asia, the country aims to vaccinate up to 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.
There are 306 days from March 1, when the Philippines launched its vaccination campaign, and Dec. 31. To reach its target, the Philippines would need to vaccinate nearly 229,000 people a day, said Edson Guido of the ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team.
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," Roque said last Monday.
(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, who are prioritized in the vaccination, 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 4 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 said.
(You are right that so many people should be vaccinated per day. But we can do that once the vaccines are here.)
Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr., the country's vaccine czar, had said that the country is acquiring 161 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.