Target for National COVID-19 Vaccination Days cut to 9 million amid syringe shortage

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2021 10:21 AM

San Juan residents are inoculated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer vaccine at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan City on November 9, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
San Juan residents are inoculated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer vaccine at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan City on November 9, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Another 3-day vaccination drive set from Dec. 15 to Dec. 17 

MANILA— The government on Saturday said it would adjust its target for the 3-day vaccination drive set to start Monday to 9 million from the initial 15 million amid a syringe shortage.

In a joint statement, the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 and National Vaccination Operations Center said the shipment of syringes they bought through UNICEF would be "delayed" due to a global shortage. 

Some local government officials earlier said this was also the reason why they were not able to push through with their vaccinations. 

"As we are finalizing the preparations for this massive movement across the 16 regions outside Metro Manila, there is currently a shortage in ancillary supplies, particularly syringes, for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines and other logistical challenges," the statement read.

Authorities though still aim to administer 3 million virus jabs daily from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, which also targets teens aged 12 to 17. Only the mRNA-type vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna are allowed to be used for the said sector, which require the specific 0.3ml syringe. 

The 3-day vaccination drive, they said, will also focus on administering first doses and booster shots. 

"As we know, sufficient ancillary supplies for each of the vaccine brands is essential in the conduct of the National Vaccination Days," they said. 

"Likewise, these vaccine brands are being used as booster shots and third doses for health care workers, senior citizens, and immunocompromised individuals," they added. 

To fully vaccinate at least 54 million by yearend, another revised target from the initial 77 million individuals, authorities said there would be another 3-day vaccination set from Dec. 15 to Dec. 17. 

It is unclear how many they aim to vaccinate on the second round.

The health department had said it already bought 44 million 0.3ml syringes from UNICEF. 

UNICEF began delivering supplies of syringes "to low- and lower-middle income countries in behalf of the COVAX facility" as early as February 2021.

The Philippines is ramping up its COVID-19 vaccination amid the presence of more transmissible variants, as well as to safely revive the pandemic-battered economy. 

Authorities also aim to administer at least 1.5 million daily COVID-19 jabs. 

The country has so far fully vaccinated nearly 35 million individuals as of Thursday, accounting for 45.3 percent of the target 77.1 million. At least 44.5 million, meanwhile, have been partially inoculated from the disease.

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