MANILA - Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday said the second dose of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine has been reserved for those who already received the first dose.
Duque, during the COVID-19 task force's weekly briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte, said those who have already been inoculated with Sinovac's vaccine will get the second dose after 28 days.
"Yun pong sa Sinovac, talaga pong nakatabi na 'yung second dose. (For Sinovac, we have already reserved the second dose.) For the simple reason that the interval between the first and the second dose is only 28 days," he explained.
"After 28 days, after a person was given the first dose, susunod na 'yung pangalawang dose (the second dose will come next), 28 days later. So nakatabi na po 'yun, wala na po tayong problema sa Sinovac (We have already reserved that, we have no problems with Sinovac)," Duque added.
This, however, is not the case for the 525,000 doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine.
According to Duque, they originally wanted to reserve the vaccines for those who have already been inoculated with the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but they decided to just distribute it to more healthcare workers since the interval between the first and second doses is longer.
Unlike Sinovac's vaccine, one has to wait for another 12 weeks or 3 months before getting the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Duque said the government will use up all the 525,000 AstraZeneca doses and wait for the next batch. This will also solve the problem of storing the vaccines, which have a shorter shelf life.
"Puwede na nating gamitin lahat ng 525,000 AstraZeneca vaccines as first dose," he said.
(We can use all the 525,000 AstraZeneca vaccines as the first dose.)
As of Monday, more than 193,000 Filipinos, mostly health workers, have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine during the first 13 days of the Philippines' inoculation drive against the coronavirus, the Department of Health (DOH) said.
Meanwhile, Duque urged the local government units to implement aggressive active case-finding and contact-tracing to stem the spread of COVID-19.
"Kinakailangan ho talagang mahinto ang mga kasong ito at kung hindi po baka lumagpas pa tayo sa July, August peak of COVID cases," he said.
(We have to stop the spread of these cases and if not, we might have more cases than the July, August peak of COVID cases.)
He also said that despite the increasing number of new COVID-19 cases, the government records few deaths daily.
"Sa kabila ng pagtaas ng mga kaso nitong mga nakaraang araw, patuloy naman po ang pagbaba ng bilang ng mga namamatay o pumapanaw dahil sa COVID-19," Duque said, adding that the COVID-19 death rate is at 2.05 percent of the total cases.
(Despite the increasing number of new cases these past few days, the number of deaths are decreasing.)
The Philippines, as of Monday, has recorded 626,893 total coronavirus infections after logging an additional 5,404 cases, the fourth highest reported in a day since the start of the pandemic in the country.
The country's new daily cases have spiked in recent weeks, particularly in Metro Manila, prompting officials to impose localized lockdowns and other measures to curb the spread of the disease.