Philippines kicks off 3-day national vaccination drive

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 29 2021 02:36 PM | Updated as of Nov 29 2021 04:13 PM

A man gets inoculated at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center as the Philippines begins its 3-day national vaccination drive Monday. Wena Cos, ABS-CBN News
A man gets inoculated at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center as the Philippines begins its 3-day national vaccination drive Monday. Wena Cos, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines has begun Monday its most ambitious National Vaccination Day yet, aiming to inoculate at least 9 million people against COVID-19 through Wednesday.

Three million daily jabs are needed to be administered in at least 12,000 vaccination sites to reach the target. This is significantly higher than the record 1.2 million doses administered on Nov. 11, according to Dr. Beverly Ho, director IV of the DOH Public Health Services Team.

A million jabs are targeted daily in Calabarzon during the 3-day vaccination drive, the health agency had said. This is followed by some 666,666 shots per day in Central Luzon, it added.

"I call on every Filipino for your continued cooperation in fighting against COVID-19 by getting vaccinated and continuing to follow our minimum public health standards," President Rodrigo Duterte said during the program's kickoff. 

"It is very important to us to take a whole-of nation approach to win against coronavirus that has sorely plagued our country for almost 2 years," he added. 

The government initially set a 15 million national target for coverage of the 3-day event, which came at a time that the world is taking measures against the newly discovered COVID-19 Omicron variant. But it was lowered on Saturday to 9 million amid a shortage in the supply of syringe.

"The National Vaccination Day is very timely and truly a milestone in our COVID-19 pandemic response and mitigation efforts. This is by far the biggest event we have held since we rolled out the national vaccination program this year," vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez told reporters in Antipolo.

"Inoculating 9 million individuals in 3 days across 16 regions with the help of NCR (National Capital Region) is our most ambitious target so far. Through this event we will show the rest of the world that the Filipino bayanihan spirit lives on."

As of 12 noon, 8,212 and 10,487 jabs have been administered in Calabarzon and Central Luzon, according to the DOH vaccination dashboard.

In Bulacan, people queued outside the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center, one of two provincial vaccination sites opened for the event, long before 8 a.m.

Government has so far fully inoculated 35.57 million out of a minimum target of 50 million for the country to achieve herd protection against COVID-19, according to data gathered by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.

There are also 45.28 million others who have received an initial dose as of Saturday. The government has also administered 174,536 third doses or booster shots.

The Philippines set a high-end target of 77.1 million or 70 percent of the total population, to get fully vaccinated for it to achieve herd immunity against the respiratory disease. It administered the first dose of an authorized COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on March 1.

Vaccination rates have remained uneven, with 93% of the capital region's residents fully inoculated as of mid-November compared with 10.9 percent of the predominantly Muslim regions in the southern Philippines, government data show.

The country has recorded a total of 2,831,807 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Sunday, of which 16,630 or 0.6 percent are active. Its first case was logged on Jan. 30 last year in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged.

Since October, daily infections have gradually decreased in number, which analysts and health officials attribute to the widening vaccination coverage.

--With reports from Gillan Ropero and Wena Cos, ABS-CBN News; Reuters 

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