MANILA—The Philippines has so far vaccinated nearly 4.7 million individuals against COVID-19, a health official said Friday, as the government shifts to “population protection” before the end of the year.
"We were able to vaccinate already almost 4.7 million individuals. We are averaging 100,000 jabs per day," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told Teleradyo.
The country aims to increase the daily vaccination rate to 500,000 to immunize at least 50 million people against the novel coronavirus, Vergeire added.
However, Vergeire noted that would depend on the vaccine supply as global demand was tight.
At least 1 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against the virus, which causes the respiratory illness, DOH data as of May 25 showed.
Philippine health authorities have said they were targeting “population protection” by year-end in Metro Manila and 4 surrounding provinces, an area government calls NCR Plus.
According to the DOH, this means minimizing hospitalization and deaths from COVID-19.
The government earlier said it planned to inoculate up to 70 million Filipinos this year to achieve herd immunity.
Due to global vaccine supply issues, the government is now looking to vaccinate 50 to 60 percent of the country’s 108 million population, with special focus in the NCR Plus area.
The vaccination drive, which began March 1, currently covers the top 3 priority groups, namely, health workers, the elderly, and people with health risks who are more prone to developing severe COVID-19.
COVID-19 jabs currently available in the country are brands AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Sinovac, and Sputnik V.