More vaccine supplies distributed to Visayas, Mindanao
MANILA— Almost 98 percent of COVID-19 jabs the country so far received has been distributed nationwide, the health department said Saturday, as areas outside the capital region continued to record a spike in infections.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, however, said the figure does not include the most recently shipped vaccine doses from China's Sinovac.
"Almost 98 percent has been distirbuted already but of course except the recently delivered supplies natin, ito po ay inaayos pa lang at uumpisahan pa lang dahil inantay po natin 'yung certificates of acceptability ng EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) na ibinigay po na huli na Sinovac," Vergeire explained in a public briefing.
(The recently delivered supplies from Sinovac are still being sorted as we wait for the certificates of acceptability based on their EUA.)
The country's COVID-19 vaccine stockpile is currently at 14.2 million, with almost 10.375 million doses already distributed, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group's monitoring using government data.
On Thursday, the country welcomed 1.5 million more Sinovac shots.
The Chinese-made vaccines will be distributed starting Monday, according to Vergeire.
Government, she said, will focus on distributing the vaccines to the capital region and 8 other virus-hotspot provinces (Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Rizal) as well as the regions seeing a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
COVID-19 VACCINES IN VISAYAS, MINDANAO
The government has already replenished COVID-19 vaccine supplies in Visayas and Mindanao, Vergeire pointed out.
Health officials earlier this week said the Visayas already surpassed Metro Manila and Mindanao in terms of virus growth.
Inoculation czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. earlier apologized to local government units there for the lack of available vaccines due to shortage and delivery delays.
“We had been deploying more vaccines in Visayas and Mindanao areas for these past two weeks at ito naman po ay naibigay talaga doon sa mga areas na matataas ang kaso,” she said.
“Kasama naman po talaga sa priorities kapag ang isang lugar ay mataas ang kaso, kasama po iyan sa ating framework for prioritization.”
(We gave the vaccines to areas with high COVID-19 cases. They already thanked us but we really give vaccine supplies to the areas reporting a high number of infections as it is included in our prioritization framework.)
A total of 55 percent of the COVID-19 vaccines delivered this month would be allocated to the Visayas and Mindanao, she said, citing Galvez.
METRO MANILA CITIES CONTINUE VACCINATIONS
Meanwhile, Metro Manila cities Caloocan and Manila on Saturday continued the vaccination of economic frontliners and members of the indigent population, albeit its "phased rollout" this month.
St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish in Caloocan serves as a vaccination site in the city, in coordination with the Caloocan Diocese and the local government.
The church has its own refrigerator to store the vaccines, while it also has at least 50 volunteers to assist in the inoculation rollout.
Volunteer doctors, nurses, and priest-nurses were assigned in the vaccination areas.
The vaccination there is conducted every Tuesdays and Saturdays until the end of September.
Caloocan has so far administered 257,930 COVID-19 shots, of which over 50,000 are second doses.
An influx of indigent residents in Manila, on the other hand, went to the city's vaccination sites to get their first dose of the vaccine against the respiratory disease.
At the Baseco Compound, the Corazon Aquino Elementary School and Benigno Aquino Elementary School served as the inoculation areas, each of which were allocated 1,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer.
Dr. Neil Flores, a doctor assigned at the Corazon Aquino Elementary School, said they continue vaccinations until night time to reach a thousand individuals.
Aside from these areas, Manila's first district also held a vaccination drive over the weekend at the covered courts of Palagabak, Bgy. 105, riverside, and Smokey Mountain's Building 18.
The country's vaccination program is on its fourth month. It started on March 1.
The government so far has administered 7,563,241 doses of the vaccines, of which 5,551,087 are first shots.
A total of 2,012,154 Filipinos, meanwhile, are fully vaccinated.
The number of those who have received the complete 2 doses comprise 3.47 percent of the minimum 58 million government target by yearend, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.
- With reports from Bianca Dava and Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News