The country has received its biggest ever coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine supply delivery, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said Tuesday night, noting that it allows government to administer as much as 1.5 million doses daily.
With vaccine supply shortage out of the way, the administration can now shift its focus to inoculating as much of the willing general population, Secretary Galvez said in his report to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during a meeting on government’s COVID-19 interventions.
Galvez, who is also the National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer, said for the first half of October alone, 20 million vaccine doses have already been delivered under government and private sector procurements, as well as donations.
The World Health Organization-led COVAX facility delivered 7.3 million doses for October this year which is one of its biggest vaccine donations to the Philippines to date, said Galvez. Apart from the COVAX facility, the United States also donated 6.4 million Pfizer jabs while Germany gave 884, 800 AstraZeneca doses.
Both the US and Germany have committed to donate more in the coming months, he added.
At this rate, the vaccine czar said achieving 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses delivery before end-October is “on track” and that vaccine supply shortage “is no longer an issue” with more than 38 million doses are safely stored in cold chain storage warehouses.
With the abundance of vaccine supply, Secretary Galvez said the government can now shift its attention to recalibrating its vaccine deployment strategy to ensure that COVID-19 doses are deployed strategically throughout the country to inoculate the general population, including the children, before the year ends in hopes for “a better Christmas.”
Apart from vaccine deployment strategy, Galvez said government agencies and the private sector have partnered together to come up with strategies that would entice hesitant individuals to get the jab which includes “sweeping” or going house-to-house; lowered restrictions for the fully vaccinated in traveling and dining out; as well as other incentives.
The vaccine czar expressed optimism that offering incentives and benefits for the fully vaccinated would encourage more people to get the jab and create “a bandwagon effect” that would eliminate vaccine hesitancy.
To reopen the economy further, Galvez said they aim to prioritize the vaccination of individuals in economic centers, as well as students and schools personnel.
Fully vaccinated citizens are also up for their third dose to boost protection, he said, noting the vaccine’s waning efficacy. PND