MANILA — The Philippines has administered more than 650,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to individuals across the country during the first 27 days of its inoculation drive against the coronavirus, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.
In a note sent to media, the DOH said 80.23 percent or 656,331 of allocated first doses have been administered, as of 6 p.m. of March 27.
The agency said 1,233,500, or 80.85 percent of 1,525,600 available doses, have been distributed all over the country.
Vaccinations were being done in 2,494 sites in the country's 17 regions.
The Philippines government has been criticized for the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and the inclusion of some non-health workers, especially as the country is facing increasing number of infections. In the past 3 days, the daily tally of cases had exceeded 9,000.
The country had received 1,525,600 doses of vaccines developed by Sinovac and AstraZeneca beginning Feb. 28, and 1 million more from the former are expected to arrive later Monday. A portion of the available supply has been secured for the administration of the second dose.
The administered vaccines have yet to cover half the estimated number 1.8 million health workers in the country who are the main priority. Vaccinations started last March 1.
To hasten the rollout, the government is now allowing the simultaneous vaccination of health workers, senior citizens and those with comorbidities. The protocol on prioritization of people with comorbidities is expected to be released within the day.
The National Capital Region and its four nearby provinces are under enhanced community quarantine until April 4 because of the rise in cases. As of Sunday, there are 105,568 active cases in the country, out of the 721,892 cumulative total.