Nearly 293,000 vaccinated against COVID-19 in Philippines, as infections spike

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2021 04:27 PM

Nearly 293,000 vaccinated against COVID-19 in Philippines, as infections spike 1
A health worker gets vaccinated with Sinovac Biotech's Coronavac on the first day of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) inoculation drive in the Philippines, at the Lung Center of the Philippines, Quezon City, Metro Manila, March 1, 2021. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters/File

MANILA — The Philippines has vaccinated at least 292,000 frontline workers against the novel coronavirus, an official leading the inoculation strategy said on Friday, as he floated a possible directive to speed up the distribution of COVID-19 shots. 

A total of 292,677 frontliners have received their first dose of coronavirus vaccines, as of Thursday 6 PM, said Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19. 

The Philippines vaccinates an average of 23,000 to 30,000 daily, he said in a press briefing. 

The country 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 expect to receive 2.3 million more vaccine doses between March and early April. 

These vaccines will be enough to cover the Philippines' 1.7 million health workers and complete the first round of their inoculation by April, said Galvez. 

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

“Most likely ang makita natin sa massive vaccination natin, mangyayari ngayong May,” he said. 

(Most likely, we'll see our massive vaccination in May.)

Authorities are proposing the inoculation of "different targets at the same time," said Galvez. 

"For example, iyong A1 to A3 [priority groups], tatargetin iyon ng national government and LGU; while iyong A4 ay tatargetin ng mga tinatawag na mga private," he said. 

(For example the A1 to A3 priority groups, those will be targeted by the national government and the local government unit, while the A4 will be targeted by the private sector.)

"With that, hindi natitengga iyong tinatawag natin na resources and capability ng mga ibang stakeholders," Galvez added. 

(With that, our resources and the capability of other stakeholders will not be stagnant.) 

Battling a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Philippines this year aims to vaccinate 70 million people or two-thirds of its population against the respiratory disease.

Video courtesy of PTV