MANILA — The Philippines has fully vaccinated least 17 million people against COVID-19, Malacañang said on Tuesday, as the country fights an uptick in infections linked to the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant.
Authorities have administered 39.1 million COVID-19 shots, of which around 22 million were first jabs, said Palace spokesman Harry Roque.
At least 17,078,676 people have been fully immunized so far, he said in a press briefing.
Government aims to vaccinate up to 70 million people before the year ends to achieve herd immunity and safely reopen the economy.
Authorities are studying vaccinating the general adult population by October if jabs are enough, President Rodrigo Duterte said.
The Philippines expects to take delivery of 61 million vaccine doses between this month and the next, an official earlier said.
The government has yet to decide on the use of booster shots for health workers, Roque clarified.
"Meron lang pong rekomendasyon pa lang ang (there is just a recommendation from the) vaccine expert panel, and this is still up for review," he said.
The Philippines, which has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Southeast Asia, is battling its worst surge in infections, overwhelming hospitals and healthcare workers.
Cases in the past 30 days alone accounted for more than a fifth of the country's 2.2 million cases, while total deaths have reached 35,145.
— With a report from Reuters
Video courtesy of PTV