MANILA — The Philippines administered more than 10 million COVID-19 vaccine shots during last nationwide vaccination push last week, as the heavily mutated Omicron variant spurred global concern, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday.
Authorities had hoped to vaccinate 9 million people during the "Bayanihan, Bakunahan" immunization drive originally set from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, and later extended in some areas until Dec. 3.
"Iyong bakuna, nakita naman ninyo (the vaccine, as you see), we were able to administer 10.2 million doses throughout the country from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, which is a huge achievement in our fight against COVID-19," he said in a taped national address.
The national daily vaccination average was at 829,000 in November.
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. At least 38.1 million of its 110 million population have been inoculated.
Average new daily infections have fallen to 500 to 600, noted Duterte.
This figure was at around 18,579 in September, paving the way for a wider economic reopening.
"I’ve always invoked the intervention of God to pull us out of this misery," said Duterte. "Christmas na, I hope that everything will be for the good of everybody and I am very happy na bumababa na talaga, duma-dive na iyong [mga kaso]."
(It's Christmas already, I hope that everything will be for the good of everybody and I am very happy that cases are falling, diving.)
"That’s a miracle because other countries are still railing from the effect, parang nagkaroon sila ng problema sa Omicron. Tayo, we are not hoping for the best, but we pray to God that it will not come to our shores. But if ever… we can cope up with it, just as we did with COVID-19," he added.
(They seem to have had a problem with Omicron. We are not hoping for the best, but we pray to God that it will not come to our shores. But if ever it does, we can cope up with it, just as we did with COVID-19.)
Video courtesy of PTV
— With reports from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News; Reuters