Nearly 241,000 out of 1.7 million health workers vaccinated against COVID-19: official

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS CBN News

Posted at Mar 17 2021 01:30 PM | Updated as of Mar 17 2021 03:11 PM

Nearly 241,000 out of 1.7 million health workers vaccinated against COVID-19: official 1
A doctor inoculates a fellow doctor with the AstraZeneca vaccine at the Ospital ng Maynila on March 9, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Philippines has vaccinated nearly 241,000 out of its 1.7 million health workers against COVID-19, an official leading the inoculation strategy said on Wednesday. 

At least 240,297 medical frontliners have received their first vaccine shot as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, said Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19. 

“Talaga pong medyo binabagalan natin nang kaunti [ang pagbabakuna] dahil iyong napag-usapan natin na mayroon pong mga adverse effects,” he said in the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum. 

“Ngayon po, meron po tayong accommodated more or less 5,000 na mga adverse effect, pero mga normal lang po—mga lagnat, parang lalagnatin. Normal lang po iyon,” he added. 

(We are taking our time with the vaccination because of what we talked about, there are adverse effects. We have accommodated more or less 5,000 adverse effects, but these are normal, like fever or the feeling that you'll get fever. That is just normal.)
 
The Philippines so far has received 1,125,600 COVID-19 shots, including 600,000 China-donated shots from Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech, and 525,600 jabs of Britain's AstraZeneca vaccine secured with the help of the COVAX Facility. 

Authorities have deployed “100 percent” of these doses nationwide, said Galvez, who is also the country's vaccine czar.

“Ang pagde-deploy natin, talagang hanggang Batanes, hanggang Jolo, Basilan. Ginagamit natin ang mga military aircraft para mai-deploy ang vaccine natin sa mga liblib na lugar,” he said. 

(Our deployment reaches Batanes up to Jolo, Basilan. We use our military aircraft to deploy vaccines to far-flung areas.)

The Philippines expects to receive 2.3 million more COVID-19 shots between March and next month. These will allow the government to complete the vaccination of 1.7 medical workers in mid-April, said Galvez. 

“Ang atin pong binigyan ng prayoridad ay ang ating medical workers para pangalagaan ang intergridad ng health care system, lalo na po ngayon na tumataas [ang mga kaso ng COVID-19],” he said. 

(We gave priority to our medical workers to take care of the integrity of our health care system, especially now that COVID-19 cases are increasing.) 

The elderly, indigents, and vulnerable sectors who may develop severe COVID-19 symptoms are next in line to get jabs, the official said. 

The government was supposed to launch a COVID-19 vaccine tracker on Wednesday, Malacañang earlier said. However, the private sector and the information department are still negotiating about the tracker, said Galvez. 

“Nagkaroon po tayo ng delay sa tinatawag nating vaccine tracker,” he said. 

(We had a delay in our so-called vaccine tracker.)

“We are now fixing it. Susunod na mga raw po, ila-launch na natin iyong tinatawag nating vaccine tracker.” 

(In the coming days, we will launch the vaccine tracker.)

In the meantime, the NTF is releasing a daily bulletin on vaccination figures, said Galvez. 

Video courtesy of Kapihan sa Manila Bay