The government should prioritize inoculating key areas with economic and social importance to fend off further COVID-19 surges and enable the economy to quickly recover, the country’s vaccine czar said on Monday.
In his report to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the current constriction in global vaccine supply would affect vaccine deliveries and the government’s vaccine rollout.
“Mr. President, considering magkaroon tayo ng tinatawag na falloff or shortfall sa ating mga supply, we are recommending na magkaroon tayo ng prioritization po, Mr. President,” Galvez said.
“So meaning, tingnan po natin ‘yong mga areas na mayroon pong tinatawag na economic at saka social importance. At saka magkakaroon tayo ng malaking problema pagka hindi natin po naagapan lalo po ang NCR (National Capital Region).”
Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, recommended concentrating in hard-hit areas last year.
These areas include NCR, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Baguio City, Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley and other areas.
The prioritization also includes Cebu City, Bacolod City, Iloilo City, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, and other areas in the Visayas with high active cases.
Davao City, Cagayan de Oro City, Zamboanga City, General Santos City, Iligan City, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, and Davao Region are the priority areas in Mindanao.
Galvez said the government should also recalibrate its mass vaccination program and concentrate in immunizing 83 million of the country’s population instead of 110 million.
If the government could achieve herd immunity in badly hit areas, Galvez said it would give the country better chances for quick economic recovery and prevent possible surges in traditional and very vulnerable areas.
“So ganoon po ang gagawin po nating strategy kasi kung magkakaroon tayo ng shortfall doon po sa constriction ng global supply, we will target more or less mga 50 to 60 (percent) of population instead of 70 to 80 to 90 para targeted ang ano po natin,” he told the President.
The vaccine czar also gave an update on recent vaccine procurements and rollout, telling the President that so far, there is a total 4,040,600 vaccine doses delivered to the Philippines.
China’s Sinovac will upscale its vaccine supply for the country, vowing to bring in 1.5 million doses instead of just 500,000 doses for its May 7 delivery, according to Galvez.
The government is also negotiating with Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute for a monthly delivery of two million doses.
Talks are also ongoing with the COVAX facility and the World Health Organization (WHO) for the delivery of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines totaling 2.3 million doses.
Galvez reported that the government has deployed 3.7 million doses and has inoculated 1.6 million Filipinos.
“And nakikita po natin na papataas din po ‘yong ating mga deliveries. Starting po ng June, magkakaroon na po tayo ng more or less 10.3 million doses dahil po darating na rin po ang Moderna at saka po ‘yong AstraZeneca,” he said.
“So apat na po ang magde-deliver this coming June. And ganoon din po sa third quarter, darating na rin po ‘yong ibang mga deliveries.” PND