The Philippines has breached the 13 million mark of administered coronavirus vaccine doses merely four days after administering 12 million doses, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said Monday night, attributing the country’s aggressive vaccination to the close cooperation between the government, private sector, and multilateral agencies.In his report to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during a meeting on government’s COVID-19 interventions, the vaccine czar said close ties with domestic and international development partners have helped the Philippines a lot in enforcing vaccination and COVID-19 mitigation strategies.
The nation’s strong collaboration with the private sector, national government agencies and local government units (LGUs) alongside the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO) and GAVI, among others, has given the country added leverage in handling the pandemic, he explained.
“We have now the massive vaccination through Focus and Expand demand, and also the Secretary of Health, together with our expert also the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Diseases (IATF-EID), have a stronger surveillance and border control,” said Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19.
“Isa po tayo sa model… Tayo lang po ang mayroong strong collaboration. They are helping us a lot. So ‘yon po ang parang motto po natin: ‘United We Stand Against COVID-19,’” he added.
Citing WHO, the vaccine czar said under President Duterte’s leadership, the Philippines has received a positive rating for having done “a good job” at mitigating the health and socioeconomic crisis brought about by the pandemic.
WHO’s representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe particularly highlighted the lower rate of COVID-related deaths in the country despite not having the same capacity and resources of First World countries.
Galvez said President Duterte’s leadership and close cooperation with various sectors has made Philippines’ PDITR (Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, and Reintegrate) “really effective” in managing the devastating impact of the pandemic.
“Despite our limitation and great challenges, we were able to respond and mitigate the damage brought about by this pandemic. And I believe with your leadership, Mr. President, we have this positive rating because we have implemented a PDITR strategy that really, really been very, very effective,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the vaccine czar said the Philippines expects to receive more than 16 million doses of vaccines this month through donations and government and private sector procurements.
Sinovac will deliver 2.5 million doses on July 14 and 17, while 1.1 million doses of AstraZeneca is set to arrive on July 18.
The US is also scheduled to donate, through the WHO-led COVAX facility, 3.2 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Janssen vaccine on July 19.
Pfizer will deliver 562,770 doses on July 19, while Moderna will provide 250,800 doses on July 21 to 27. An additional 2.5 million doses from Sinovac will be delivered on July 24 to 25 as well as another 375,570 doses of Pfizer on July 26. Before the month ends, Sinovac is expected to deliver 2.5 million more doses.
Galvez also expressed optimism in steady supply of vaccines for the month of August, noting that China’s Sinovac has agreed to upscale its deliveries to 8.4 million. In addition to donations by the COVAX facility and government and private sector procurements, the Philippines may receive at least 16.5 million coronavirus vaccine doses next month.
The vaccine czar said they are also eyeing to inoculate teachers before the end of August for them to prepare for possible reopening of face-to-face classes. Apart from teachers, uniformed personnel and other state workers are also among the priority.
At the same time, Galvez said that he, along with the country’s vaccine team, will continue to visit different surge areas across the country to personally assess the situations and “reconfigure prioritization” or reallocate vaccines to more vulnerable areas if necessary.
At present, among those who have received the first dose are: 1.5 million healthcare workers and 209,193 of their family members; 2.6 million senior citizens; 3.2 million individuals with comorbidities; 1.6 million economic frontliners; and 307,450 individuals from indigent communities. PND