MANILA — The Philippines has administered 40 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, government said on Thursday, as the country started testing a new strategy against one of Asia's worst coronavirus outbreaks.
Since March, authorities have given 40,030,388 as of Sept. 15 , said Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque. The tally includes some 22.35 million first jabs, based on a slideshow he presented.
At least 17.67 million people are now fully vaccinated, 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 last week.
"Tandaan natin po, libre ang magpapabakuna. Magparehistro lamang po sa inyong LGU," said Roque.
(Remember, vaccination is free. Just register with your LGU.)
Metro Manila on Thursday started testing out a new 5-level alert system accompanied by granular lockdowns, which government hoped would arrest the spread of COVID-19 while reopening the economy.
"Generally peaceful, wala po tayong problema (we did not have any problem)," national police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said of the start of the region's alert level 4.
Home to about 13 million people, the capital region's overall infections in the past 30 days alone accounted for more than a fifth of the country's total of 2.2 million coronavirus cases. Total deaths have reached 35,742.