The government spelled out its vaccination strategies this year that include inoculating the remaining three million senior citizens, administering additional boosters doses and expanding the vaccination drive to cover minors in preparation for in-person classes.
In his report to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. said that aside from focusing on those priorities, the government’s other major tasks are the recruitment and hiring of dedicated vaccinators, as well as working with the local government units (LGUs) and the private sector to further increase the demand generation both for the primary and booster doses.
The government also eyes to expand the vaccine emergency use authorization (EUA) for other vaccine brands in preparation for the immunization of more minors, said Galvez, who noted that they are already working with other vaccine brand manufacturers for the issuance of emergency use permits for children three to 11 years old.
Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, enumerated the government’s main objectives this year that include vaccinating 90 million Filipinos including minors aged five to 11 before the end of June, providing 72.16 million boosters to adult population aged 18 and above, and vaccinating 12.74 million, 12-17 years old with boosters.
Other objectives include immunizing 15.56 million, five to 11 years old with boosters; and to vaccinate 11.11 million, zero to four years old with primary series.
The vaccine czar told President Duterte during the chief executive’s regular public address that the vaccine formulation for children five to 11 years old might be available by the end of January.
“Ito po ‘yung last contact po namin sa ating mga manufacturer and we are now making some contingencies to acquire doses that we need to include the ages zero to four years old,” Galvez said.
He noted that the 100 million doses in the country’s inventory are enough for the remaining primary series of unvaccinated Filipinos while the 25 million are for those eligible for boosters.
Consequently, the government still needs to buy more or less 17 million doses for this year’s boosters and about 26 million for children’s formulations, according to Galvez.
“Based on the report of Usec. Mark Joven and the Department of Finance, we have a total of 800 million or 40 billion equivalent available for the procurement of vaccines and boosters for CY 2022 from the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, additional financing,” he said.
This means that with the P45 billion of unprogrammed appropriation under the National Expenditure Program (NEP), there will be P40 billion intended for vaccine procurement. The 2022 National Budget provided additional P2.79 billion to the Department of Health (DOH) for the purchase of COVID-19 boosters.
At the same time, the vaccine czar reported that the government targets to pursue the vaccination of the 77 million Filipinos and eyes to conclude the inoculation of 12 to 17 years old before the end of the first quarter this year.
“Our last milestone is to finish the boostering of the 71.16 million by end of third quarter and we will push also for the vaccination of the rest of the population to make sure that all Filipinos are protected by the vaccines,” he said. PND