MANILA — Around 2.5 million Filipinos were vaccinated against COVID-19 at the start Monday of the 3-day campaign "Bayanihan, Bakunahan", the Department of Health said Tuesday, adding it received reports that some walk-ins failed to get jabbed.
Authorities on Monday administered 2,554,023 million COVID-19 shots, which is 2.5 times the daily average last week, said DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje.
The government is targeting to cover 9 million people during the vaccination drive that ends Wednesday, Dec. 1.
Out of the total doses administered on Monday, the biggest bulk of 366,000 were in Calabarzon.
Central Luzon, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Bicol region complete the top 5 regions with the biggest output, said Cabotaje, who chairs the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC).
"Ito lang iyong ating (this is our only) major challenge: there have been reports that some who walked in were not given vaccinations," she said in a televised public briefing.
Cabotaje said some children also failed to get inoculated, though there are "enough vaccines for minors."
"Meron pong direktiba ang ating Presidente to vaccinate everyone… We allow walks-ins. Dapat po, walang uuwi na nakapila na hindi nabakunahan," said the official.
(The President has a directive to vaccinate everyone. We allow walk-ins. No one among those who lined up should go home without getting vaccinated.)
Video courtesy of PTV
She said the NVOC is also coordinating with local governments to control crowds at vaccination sites.
The Philippines deployed security forces and thousands of volunteers during the Bayanihan, Bakunahan rollout, a drive made urgent by the threats of the heavily mutated Omicron variant.
"Iyong pagri-reach po ng target, ito po ay kailangan gawin nating lahat, not just government. Hindi lang po ito responsibilidad ng pamahalaan," Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said during the briefing.
"Magtulungan po tayo dito," he added.
(Reaching the target needs the cooperation of everyone, not just government. This is not just the responsibility of government. Let us help each other here.)
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said earlier in the day that the government is satisfied so far with the turnout of the national vaccination drive.
“We are satisfied doon sa performance natin kahapon because nakita natin ang daming dumagsa, marami talagang nagpabakuna. May mga lugar talaga na nao-overwhelm. But in general naman, maganda talaga ang turnout," he said.
(We are satisfied with our performance yesterday because we saw many people lining up to get the vaccine. Some places were overwhelmed. But in general, the turnout was good.)
“At umikot tayo, tiningnan natin yung mga vaccination sites, specifically I went sa area ng Calabarzon, at maganda talaga yung resulta at nakita naman natin walang anumang nangyaring tinatawag nating spreader event.”
(We went to some vaccination sites to inspect. I specifically went to the Calabarzon where I saw good results, and where nothing can be considered a spreader event.)
“Na-kontrol ng ating (local government units) at kapulisan at iba pang ahensya yung mga lugar na kung saan tayo nabakuna,” he added.
(The areas were properly controlled by our LGUs, police and other agencies.)
Omicron, which the World Health Organization has described as a "variant of concern", has yet to be detected in the Philippines. Its spread has sparked global travel restrictions and rattled financial markets.
The Philippines has been dealing with one of Asia's worst COVID-19 outbreaks and its vaccine rollout has been slower than many neighbors, with just over a third of its 110 million population inoculated.
Average new daily infections have fallen sharply to 1,644 in November from 18,579 in September, paving the way for a wider economic reopening.
Vaccination rates are uneven, however, with 93 percent of the capital region's eligible residents inoculated compared with 11 percent in the poorest parts of the south.
— With a report from Reuters