More than 70 million people in the Philippines have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Saturday.
Citing the latest report from the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) last Friday, Galvez said that the country has fully vaccinated 70,005,247 people, accounting for 77.78 percent of the target population.
The development comes more than a year after the Philippines started is COVID-19 vaccination rollout program in March 2021.
According to Galvez, this is a “testament of the administration’s commitment to vaccinate as many Filipinos as possible to protect them” from the coronavirus.
“Nagpapasalamat ang NTF sa lahat ng ating health workers, volunteers, at mga kababayang nagtulong-tulong para mas marami tayong mabakunahan at maprotektahan laban sa COVID-19 (The National Task Force thanks our health workers, volunteers, and fellowmen who helped to make sure that we vaccinate and protect more and more Filipinos from COVID-19.),” Galvez said.
“This is our parting gift to the next administration. We hope that our new leaders will also prioritize our vaccination program and continue to build an immunity wall among our people,” he added.
The Duterte administration ends on June 30.
As of Friday, the Philippines has administered more than 153 million vaccine doses, the government said, with almost 74.9 million individuals receiving at least one dose.
More than 14,7. million people have taken their first booster shots, while 648,555 have received the second booster dose, the DOH said.
Among the minors, some 3.2 million children aged 5-11, and nearly 9.5 million aged 12-17 have their complete doses.
Galvez said that the country’s high vaccination rate, along with the continued compliance wiht health protocols, can prevent another surge in COVID-19 infections. Willie Casas
This, despite the recent uptick of coronavirus cases in the country, particularly in Metro Manila.
“We have had many superspreader events in the past months, including the national elections, but we still managed to keep our new COVID-19 cases low because of our high vaccination rate,” Galvez said.
“But vaccination alone is not enough. We still have to follow our public health protocols, including frequent washing of hands and wearing of best-fitted face masks,” Galvez said.
The government has approved the rollout of second booster shots for frontline health workers, immunocompromised individuals, and senior citizens.
The Philippines has logged more than 3.695 million COVID-19 cases, of which 4,176 are active as of Saturday, according to data from the Department of Health.
The country’s first coronavirus case was confirmed on Jan. 30, 2020, in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged.