MANILA—The Philippines aims to conduct 3 million COVID-19 vaccinations per week once sufficient supply of jabs arrive by June, an official leading the country's inoculation strategy said.
Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., in a hearing at the lower house in Congress on Tuesday, said the government intends to rapidly increase the number of inoculations to curb the pandemic.
“For 2021, our strategy is containment strategy, meaning we have to achieve a steady supply of vaccines. We have to strategize also our vaccination through the mobilization of national resources, including the national government, the LGU, and the private sector,” he said.
Galvez said 2,497 vaccination sites had been established across 771 cities and municipalities in the country.
The Philippines began its COVID-19 vaccination drive on March 1, much later than other countries, and has so far vaccinated more than 738,000 people, mostly health-care workers.
It has received 2.52 million vaccine doses, including 2 million from China's Sinovac Biotech and the rest, AstraZeneca shots from vaccine-sharing initiative COVAX Facility
The Philippines aims to inoculate 70 million people or two-thirds of its population this year to achieve herd immunity.
Galvez had said that the country would get 161 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from different manufacturers.
During the hearing at the House committee on health, Baguio mayor and contact tracing czar Benjamin Magalong said the task force would “recapacitate and mentor again all other LGUs that are in need of help in contact tracing like NCR.”
He said that re-training for about 258 uniformed personnel on contact tracing was set to begin Wednesday while another 600 contact tracers would be trained within the week.
Meanwhile, Public Works Secretary and isolation czar Mark Villar said his agency aimed to complete 720 temporary treatment and monitoring facilities with a total bed capacity of 26,099 by April.
The Department of Public Works and Highways has so far completed 635 TTMFs, with a total bed capacity of 23,421.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III added that his department was eyeing the expansion of the current ONE Hospital Command Center to ONE COVID Referral Network in order to cater to more patients nationwide.
“'Yong ONE Hospital Command Center is planning to expand into becoming a ONE COVID Referral Network para talagang the whole system of the health-care services ay may integration ‘nong system -- from the lower level facilities beginning with the BHERTs, beginning with the isolation treatment facilities, to the infirmary, to the district hospitals level 1, level 2, level 3,” he said.