MANILA — The Philippines has so far vaccinated more than 1.2 million Filipinos since it started rolling out its COVID-19 vaccine program in March, according to Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday.
During a briefing, Roque said that of the 1,477,757 doses administered as of April 18, Sunday, 1,279,223 are first doses, while 198,534 are second doses.
This means less than 200,000 Filipinos are fully immunized against COVID-19.
In a separate briefing, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said those fully vaccinated are health workers who were among the first to receive the jabs at the start of March.
“About 80% pa lang ang natatapos sa A1 (health workers),” Cabotaje said.
(Only 89 percent of the A1 priority group have been fully vaccinated.)
Based on the slides presented by Cabotaje, 960,191 health workers have been vaccinated as of April 17. There are also 128,018 senior citizens who have received the shots, and 176,305 persons with comorbidities.
Cabotaje said there is currently a limited amount of COVID-19 vaccines allotted for senior citizens.
At the start of the vaccination period, only AstraZeneca vaccines were allowed for use on the elderly.
The Food and Drug Administration later revised its recommendation to allow the use of Sinovac despite limited data on its efficacy. It said then that Sinovac is proven to be safe and has already been used by older health workers.
Using data as of April 17, Cabotaje said that of the administered doses, 36% went to health workers, 10% to senior citizens or 60 years old and up, and 14% to persons with comorbidities.
The government has long been criticized for the seemingly slow rollout of vaccines in the country. This as COVID-19 cases remain high especially in regions like Metro Manila.
The country has a total of 3,025,600 COVID-19 vaccine doses so far, which include the 2nd dose allotment for those who received the Sinovac brand.
More vaccines are expected to arrive this month including 1 million doses from Sinovac, 500,000 doses from Gamaleya Institute of Russia, and 194,000 doses from Pfizer.
Up to 70 million are targeted for inoculation to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus.