MANILA — Almost a month since the COVID-19 vaccine rollout started in the Philippines, 738,913 vaccine shots have already been administered, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
The DOH said Thursday that as of March 30, 737,569 vaccines were given out for the first dose and 1,344 were given out for the 2nd dose.
“The National Capital Region has started administering the 2nd dose for the HCW vaccinees, maximizing protection for our healthcare workers,” the DOH said.
The number of vaccination sites went up to 2,596 from 1,759 last week.
“With the recent arrival of 1M doses of procured vaccines, the total number of available doses have doubled, and doses distributed throughout the country have significantly increased, with a total of 1,468,200 doses delivered,” the DOH said.
The almost 1.5 million vaccines distributed comprise 58% of the 2,525,600 vaccines delivered to the Philippines.
Two million of those are Sinovac vaccines, half of which were procured and the other half donated by the Chinese government. The remaining 525,600 are AstraZeneca vaccines from the vaccine-sharing initiative COVAX Facility. Most of the vaccines coming from COVAX are donated by other countries but 25% will have to be paid for by the Philippine government.
The DOH post said the country now has a 7-day average of daily vaccinated individuals of 32,940. This is still very much close to the 32,756 individuals vaccinated daily last week.
The government has been repeatedly criticized for the slow vaccine rollout that started on March 1.
To hasten the vaccination rollout, the government has also allowed the simultaneous vaccination of health workers, senior citizens and persons with comorbidities.
The DOH said this will also ensure the protection of the most vulnerable Filipinos.
Experts have explained that while the elderly are 15% less likely to be infected since they are staying indoors, they are 5 times more likely to get severe disease and 10 times more likely to die than other age groups.
There are also studies on how people with chronic respiratory disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, malignancy, diabetes mellitus, and obesity are more at risk.
Except for the 6,128 new cases recorded on Wednesday due to a technical issue, the Philippines has been logging more than 8,000 cases since March 25.
Due to the continued surge of COVID-19 cases in the country, the government placed Metro Manila and nearby provinces under the stricter enhanced community quarantine classification until April 4.