News Release

Bigger vaccine shipments needed to widen inoculation drive — vaccine czar

The government should secure monthly COVID-19 vaccine delivery of 25 million doses if it wants to expand the current mass immunization drive, the country’s vaccine czar said on Wednesday.

In his report to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said there’s a need for the government to increase the delivery volume to meet the demand of the country’s local government units (LGUs).

“We need to increase our delivery for Sinovac. So kung makikita po natin kung pagsamahin po natin ‘yung targeted population, more or less mayroon po tayong 59,929,000. And then ‘yung projected eligible population po natin is 70 million,” he told the President during a presentation.

“Sa ngayon po, mayroon lang po tayo na 31,360,000 doses, ‘yung actual supply deliveries. At kung titingnan po ‘yan, hahatiin po natin ‘yan, it is equivalent to 17,300,775 treatments.”

The gap between supply and demand is still huge, some 42.6 million doses, said Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19. He added that they are expecting to meet the demand by October.

Although the deliveries are big in terms of volume, in reality Galvez said these are not enough once the government opens to cover A1 to A5 categories because the actual doses should be multiplied into two doses.

The vaccine czar asked the patience of the LGUs for the inadequacy in vaccine supply, noting that in order to cope, the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force has issued a recommendation for the LGUs to concentrate on A1, A2, and A3 or the vulnerable sector.

Galvez also reported that so far, the government administered 18.1 million doses of various vaccines, with 11.3 million Filipinos receiving the first dose. Some 6.8 million Filipinos are now fully vaccinated, representing 8.8 percent of the targeted population, he said.

On the supply side, the Philippines already received a total of 31,360,700 doses, he said, adding they are expecting to receive 2.5 million doses of CoronaVac from China’s Sinovac Biotech.

The UK government will also send 115,000 doses of AstraZeneca jab, while the COVAX vaccine sharing program will ship 3 million doses of Moderna vaccine to the Philippines, possibly this July or in the first week of August.

The Philippines still has another 64 million doses for procurement as well as jabs from the COVAX facility and from other donors. PND