MANILA — The Department of Health on Monday said the Philippines has vaccinated more than 300,000 people and has deployed almost all of the COVID-19 vaccines that have arrived in the Philippines.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters that as of March 20 or almost 3 weeks after the vaccine rollout started, 336,656 have been vaccinated.
“As of March 20, 2021 6pm, we already have 1,623 vaccination sites. And 1.1 million already out of the 1,125,600 doses have been distributed. So that’s about 98% distribution rate,” Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.
The country has so far received 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX Facility and 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines donated by China.
“Sa ngayon wala pa tayong nairereport na spoilage at minomonitor ito ng ating team for logistics everyday at nagbibigay sila ng report sa ating vaccine cluster,” Vergeire added.
(Right now we have not received any report of spoilage and our team for logistics is monitoring this and they are giving reports to the vaccine cluster.)
The health official also said that they are giving a deadline for hospitals to use up their COVID-19 vaccines because of the need to vaccinate as many health workers as soon as possible.
Facilities unable to meet the deadline of March 24 might have to return their vaccines so that those can be administered to other hospitals.
Currently, 1,623 vaccination sites are inoculating health workers in 17 regions.
While the government is prioritizing health workers because of the high risk of contracting COVID-19 while on duty, there have been reports of non-frontliners getting ahead of the vaccination queu.
Vergeire appealed to the public to respect the prioritization framework, especially since jumping the line might cause the COVAX Facility, a vaccine-sharing initiative, to halt its donations to the country.
“Primarily ang objective nila is to prioritize the vulnerable groups. Ibig sabihin yung binigay nating priority sector yun dapat ang masunod,” she said.
(Their objective is to prioritize vulnerable groups. That means, the priority sectors should be followed.)
The World Health Organization, which is a member of the COVAX Facility, has repeatedly explained that one of the conditions of the donations is for the countries to prioritize health workers.
The Philippines is expected to pay for only 25% of the COVAC Facility’s COVID-19 vaccine allocation for the country.
The Philippines plans to inoculate up to 70 million Filipinos by the end of the year.
Video Courtesy of Department of Health