MANILA — The government is studying expanding the COVID-19 vaccination drive to the general public by October, President Rodrigo Duterte said.
The immunization program currently covers 5 priority groups, including health workers, the elderly, people with health risks, essential workers, and indigents.
"I’d like the people to know we are studying the possibility of vaccinating the general adult population as early as October if there is a stable vaccine supply," Duterte said in a taped speech that aired on Tuesday.
But authorities "have to keep equity in mind," he said.
"Dapat unahin na natin ang walang-wala at mga mahirap," said the President.
(We should prioritize the poor.)
Video courtesy of PTV
The government expects to take delivery of some 61 million COVID-19 jabs between September and October, vaccine "czar" Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said.
Authorities have received some 59.7 million vaccine doses, of which around 38.7 million have been administered. At least 16.7 million people are now fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.
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.
Government aims to immunize up to 70 million people before the year ends to safely reopen the economy. — With a report from Reuters