16 million now fully vaccinated in PH
MANILA— President Rodrigo Duterte has said the Philippines was "doing well" in its COVID-19 vaccination drive, despite a shortfall in required jabs due to delivery delays.
In a taped meeting with Duterte, vaccine "czar" Carlito Galvez Jr. said authorities have received 54 million vaccine doses, of which around 38 million have been administered. At least 16 million people are now fully vaccinated, he added.
"Let me stress the point that we are doing well with our vaccination, but the fact is that there is a shortfall. Hindi natin mabigyan lahat sabay-sabay kasi kulang," Duterte said in the Friday meeting that aired on Saturday.
(We cannot give everyone vaccines at the same time because these are not enough.)
The Philippines needs to receive 9 million doses weekly to vaccinate 100 million by the end of the year, said Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez III.
However, he said only 3.5 million shots were delivered in the first week of September.
"We have to catch up for the coming weeks," he said. "We want to tell our citizens that as soon as the vaccines arrive, they are actually deployed and people are inoculated. But again, the pharmaceutical companies have had some difficulties in making the deliveries."
Authorities expect to take delivery of some 61 million between September and October, said Galvez, who also heads the National Task Force Against COVID-19.
"Despite the challenges and constraint, we’re still on track," he said.
"Siguro kung dumating ‘yong 61 million, puwede na po tayong magkaroon ng tinatawag na general population [vaccination] na po tayo this coming October," added the official.
(Perhaps, if the 61 million doses arrive, we can roll out a general population vaccination this coming October.)
The immunization effort currently covers the top 5 priority groups, including health frontliners, the elderly, people with comorbidities, essential workers, and indigents, Galvez said.
The Philippines has logged some 2.1 million coronavirus infections, including 34,733 deaths, among the highest in Asia.
Video courtesy of PTV