News Release

Duterte admin enhances strategy against COVID-19

President Rodrigo Roa Dutete discusses matters with Presidential Spokesperson Herminio "Harry" Roque Jr., Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, Presidential Adviser on Peace Process and National Task Force against Coronavirus Disease-2019 (NTF COVID-19) chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr., and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III prior to the start of the meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on March 29, 2021. KING RODRIGUEZ/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The government has calibrated its strategy against COVID-19 to defeat the virus and restart the economy, the country’s vaccine czar said on Monday.

In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said 2021 is intended for containment strategy with the government securing steady vaccine supply and scaling up its vaccination through the mobilization of the national government, LGUs, and the private sector.

Under the strategy, the government will boost vaccination in April and May, targeting to inoculate 500,000 to one million per week, said Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19.

And then in June and July, once the bulk of the vaccines arrive, the government eyes two million to three million per week. In August to December, three million to five million per week.

To achieve herd immunity, Galvez said there’s a need to maximize the vaccination drive, with the government administering more or less 450,000 to 500,000 doses a day. “Ang parang pinakatarget po natin is we will have a better Christmas sa 2021.”

The main goal is to completely eliminate COVID-19, according to Galvez. To achieve that objective, he said they are communicating with the different vaccine manufacturers developing booster vaccines. Those are second generation or third generation vaccines that can prevent and neutralize new COVID-19 variants.

The government will authorize local pharmaceuticals companies to directly communicate with their foreign counterparts in order for the country to attain vaccine security by 2022, he added.

The Philippines is looking at India’s self-sufficiency strategy, he said, stressing if the country can establish its own manufacturing capability, there is no need for importation of vaccines and other medicine.

“So iyon po ang isang nakita po namin na magkaroon po tayo sana ng aside from the Universal Health Care Law, magkaroon po sana tayo ng Health Security Act na ‘yong ating DOH at ang ating health care system will be modernized,” he said.

“So to 2023, at least we can start ‘yong health self- sufficiency to next pandemic so that we can prepare just in case na magkaroon po ng next pandemic.”

The government has vaccinated 668,018 healthcare workers comprising 81.65 percent of its target for the first vaccine dose, Galvez reported. It targets to inoculate 1.7 million health workers.

Some one million vaccine doses from Chinese drugmaker Sinovac BioTech arrived in the country on Monday, the first tranche of the 25 million procured by the government from China. PND