MANILA — The Philippines secured an additional 20 million doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, giving officials confidence that the country will be able to meet its inoculation targets, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said Saturday.
The additional doses bring the total COVID-19 jabs ordered by the Philippines from the US-based manufacturer to 60 million, Galvez said in a statement.
"With these additional doses, we can ensure the sustainability of our National Vaccination Program, and hit the vaccination targets we have set not only for this year, but for 2022 as well," he said.
The latest procurement can be used as booster shots for minors, subject to the Food and Drug Administration's approval.
The Philippines has received 142,153,340 COVID-19 vaccine doses from various manufacturers, of which at least 92 million were procured by the government. As of Nov. 27, more than 81 million doses have been administered.
More than 35.5 million Filipinos are now fully vaccinated against the respiratory illness, 46 percent of the country's target population, according to Galvez.
In the same statement, Galvez said the government has set "four major milestones that we aim to achieve until the third quarter of 2022."
The first, he said, was to fully vaccinated 54 million Filipinos in 2021, including at least 80 percent of the pediatric population aged 12 to 17.
The second and third milestones are to fully vaccinate 77 million Filipinos by the end of the first quarter of 2022, and 90 million by the second quarter of 2022.
For the fourth milestone, the government is eyeing to complete booster vaccination by the end of the third quarter of 2022. Galvez said.
"We really have to make sure that we are able to get the COVID-19 jabs to the arms of as many Filipinos as possible in order for our country to achieve herd immunity at the soonest possible time," he said.
The Philippines will hold a three-day vaccination drive starting Monday, with officials eyeing to inoculate 9 million people during the period.