The Philippines on Friday rolled out COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for adults 18 years and older.
Health Undersecretary and spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said those eligible for a booster shot are individuals who have received their second dose at least 6 months ago or the single-dose Janssen vaccine at least three months ago.
More than eight million Filipinos out of a nine-million target were vaccinated against COVID-19 in a mass immunization drive made more urgent by the threat of the newly discovered Omicron coronavirus variant, the Department of Health said on Friday.
More than 90 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered by the government since the country’s vaccination drive started, while nearly half of its target population have been fully vaccinated, Malacanang added.
Meanwhile, the DOH expects the completed recommendations of the World Health Organization-Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on COVID-19 booster shots to be released by December 7.
The Philippines has ranked fourth globally on the highest daily rate of vaccinations against COVID-19 after administering 2.7 million doses on Nov. 29, the National Task Force Against COVID-19 said.
Also, the Philippines is set to receive some 4 million syringes needed to administer COVID-19 vaccinations.
This will go with over a million additional doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines that arrived Thursday evening, the Manila International Airport Authority said.
The running total of administered vaccine doses was at 8,014,751 as of 6 a.m. Friday, with the figure expected to rise as more data come in, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, chairperson of the National Vaccination Operations Center, said in a televised public briefing.
Authorities administered some 2.7 million COVID-19 shots on the campaign's launch on Monday, 2.4 million jabs the next day, and 2.8 million on Wednesday.
"We are happy with the success of our ‘Bayanihan, Bakunahan’ which happened over the last 3 days. The accomplishment of our local government units was excellent,” Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in the same briefing.
Cabotaje said this was almost 90 percent of the 9-million target of the government.
“More data and reports came in but a bit late because of our connectivity and all,” she said.
Cabotaje said Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and Central Visayas were the top performing regions, which accounted for about a third of the total jabs administered.
Provinces with the highest outputs include Cebu, Negros Occidental, and Cavite, she said.
Other regions recorded improvements in their vaccination drives, including Bicol, which administered some 98,000 jabs, up from the 20,000 doses it usually gives, Cabotaje said.