MANILA—The Philippines aims to boost its COVID-19 vaccine drive in Metro Manila and other areas, even amid tougher lockdowns, to stem the spread of the more contagious Delta variant, the Department of Health said on Saturday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the government is preparing to issue guidelines for inoculating residents in areas under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), which will be in effect August 6 to 20.
"Hindi 'yan mapuputol and we will not discontinue itong pagbabakuna natin. Itong pagbabakuna ay isang magiging armas natin laban sa Delta variant at isa po ito sa pag-iigtingin ng ating gobyerno kahit tayo ay naka-ECQ," Vergeire said.
"Itutuloy pa rin natin at actually, itataas po natin ang bilang ng dapat mabakunahan para agad-agad tayong magkaroon ng protection laban sa mga variants na ito."
(The vaccination will not stop, because it is a weapon against the Delta variant. The government will also ramp up immunizations, even if we are under the enhanced community quarantine)
Malacañang said that the country's inoculation program would continue in areas under ECQ, some of which will begin on Sunday, August 1, and last until August 7.
These areas include the following:
- Iloilo province
- Iloilo City
- Cagayan De Oro City
- Gingoog City
The National Task Force Against COVID-19, meanwhile, said the national government would set aside some 4 million virus jabs for the National Capital Region (NCR), in a bid to boost their vaccination program.
The NCR can reach a daily vaccination rate of up to 250,000 if the jabs will be delivered soon, according to authorities.
Vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr. on Wednesday said the country is expecting the delivery of 3.4 million donated vaccine doses next week from the COVAX Facility and the United Kingdom.
During his presentation to the President, Galvez said the the country should be able to deliver 25 million doses nationwide monthly to "meet a monthly demand and increasing capacities of all regions and provinces."
The country has received nearly 33.9 million vaccine doses as of Friday, more than 27.1 million of which have been distributed nationwide.
A total of 11.5 million Filipinos already received a first jab against the respiratory disease, while 7.8 million have been fully immunized.
The government's vaccination program started in March.