MANILA—After the national government consulted with local officials, the vaccination target for the nationwide COVID-19 inoculation set for November 29 to December 1 has been cut down from 15 million to 9 million, citing logistics issues.
Acting Health Spokesperson Beverly Ho said in a public briefing on Saturday that a second round of the national vaccination drive from December 15 to 17 would aim to increase the number of people immunized from COVID-19.
"Patuloy ang diskusyon natin (our discussions are ongoing) with our local chief executives. All of these are based on preparations that are being done now with our regional, provincial, and municipal and city local government units," Ho said.
" ’Yun po ang decision. We want to expand more days at ’yun po ang dahilan bakit nagkaroon tayo ng 2 rounds. Mas marami po sa 9 million ang dumating, kung 15 million po ang dumating at magpabakuna on the first 3 days, OK na OK po iyon sa atin."
(That was the decision. We want to expand more days and that's the reason why we had to do it for two rounds. If more than 9 million are vaccinated or 15 million in the first 3 days, that exceeds our expectations.)
The National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 and the National Vaccination Operations Center earlier in the day said the shortage of syringes for mRNA-type vaccines such as Moderna and Pfizer prompted them to revise the target.
Aside from this, Ho said health officials were also expecting the arrival of more COVID-19 jabs by December, which could help the said jab drive.
"Ito po ay bunga ng ating consultation this week with our local chief executives, lahat ng mga governors and mayors ng municipalities and cities," she said.
(This was the result of our consultation this week with local chief executives.)
"'Yan ang napag-agreehan na we wanted to increase our access to the vaccines at patuloy pa kasing mga darating na bakuna in the next few weeks."
(That's what we agreed upon, that we want to increase our access to the vaccines and because more will arrive in the next few weeks.)
Their target for the second round vaccination drive will depend on the number of those who got vaccinated during the first wave of inoculations.
"Siyempre kung malaking-malaki ’yung nakuha natin this first round, mas bababa ’yung kakailanganin nating target for the second round," Ho said.
(If many people will be vaccinated in the first round, then our target for the second round will be lower.)
Meanwhile, she said about 30,000 volunteers have signed up for the first round of National Vaccination Days starting on Monday.
The health official urged Filipinos to volunteer, and people who do not have a medical background were also welcomed.
The Philippines, which aims to fully vaccinate at least 54 million people this year, 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.