MANILA - A quarter of the additional 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine delivered to the country over the weekend will be distributed in Metro Manila, the epicenter of the pandemic in the Philippines, a health official said Monday.
The capital region will get the most number of the newly delivered AstraZeneca jabs, followed by its neighboring Central Luzon and Calabarzon regions, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press conference.
"Nasa NCR Plus po yung pinakamataas nating alokasyon so that we can have herd containment in this epicenter of this disease," she said.
"Ready to deploy na tayo starting today," she added.
Other regions will also get the AstraZeneca vaccine, said Vergeire, without specifying the allocation breakdown.
The Philippines got its fresh shipment of the British-developed vaccine candidate through the COVAX facility shortly after the country resumed the use the product for those below 60 years old.
The government briefly suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for Filipinos who are not yet senior citizens after several countries reported blood vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia or blood clotting events following use of the product. No such incident was reported in the Philippines.
"Our DOH regional offices will be capacitated for the early diagnosis of this very rare side effect," Vergeire said.
The country has so far received over 7.5 million doses of different COVID-19 vaccine brands, of which, over 2 million have been administered.
The government is expanding its vaccination program by partnering with private sector, Vergeire said. "We are now partnering with the private sector so we can have huge vaccination sites."
The government is planning to use Nayong Pilipino - a former tourism site - as a vaccination facility, she added.
Up to 70 million individuals are targeted for vaccination this year to achieve herd immunity against the disease that has so far infected over 1.1 million in the country.