The government is eyeing to secure 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of June with the expected arrival of more than nine million coronavirus vaccine doses next month, the country’s vaccine czar said on Monday.
In his report to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said for the month of June, they expect shipment of 1.1 million Pfizer vaccine doses; 4.5 million from Sinovac; 250,000 from Moderna; 1.3 million from AstraZeneca; and two million from Russia’s Sputnik V.
Vaccine supplies acquired for June alone will be enough to inoculate most, if not all, of the country’s priority sectors in the government’s ongoing mass vaccination program particularly medical frontliners, senior citizens and individuals with comorbidities.
Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, said vaccine supplies are being delivered to the Philippines “not in trickles but in volumes,” noting its positive impact in government’s plans to expand and fast-track the inoculation of the country’s adult population.
Galvez said the Philippines is implementing “Focus and Expand – Center of Gravity” vaccination strategy which has nine focus areas including Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Pampanga, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao, while other regions in the country are grouped under “expansion areas”.
The center of gravity refers to the Philippines’ economic centers which are vulnerable areas at the same time, Galvez explained. To reach the goal, focus areas will receive a steady number of vaccine supplies to maintain steady rollout and prevent delays.
“So pagka na-address po natin, na-strengthen natin ang ating vulnerabilities at the same time we strengthen our economic strength, iyon po ang center of gravity po natin,” he said.
“The main purpose of this supply and demand vaccine rollout is that to finish the vaccination at the earliest possible time and maximize the resources that we have without any wastage,” he added.
The Philippines’ stringent efforts to vaccinate target sectors put the country in second place among Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries in terms of daily rate of administered doses. The country ranked 15th in Asia.
Citing data from the World Health Organization (WHO), Galvez said vaccinating at least 25 million of the country’s most vulnerable population will help the Philippines reach initial herd containment; while inoculating 58 million to 70 million will help reach herd immunity.
Once COVID-19 vaccines for children are made available, Galvez said the Philippines can target vaccinating the entire 110 million population, halting the highly contagious respiratory disease.
At present, the Philippines administers around 65,879 daily average vaccine doses with a total of 2,409,235 doses administered to medical frontliners, senior citizens, persons with comorbidities, and economic frontliners.
The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded 6,846 new coronavirus infections on May 10, bringing the country’s total number of cases to 1,108,826 with 1,030, 367 recoveries and 18,562 deaths. PND