The Philippines has vaccinated more than 1 million people against COVID-19, the Palace said on Monday.
“This is an important achievement,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in Filipino, as he reported that 1,007,356 people have received their first jab, while 132,288 have already received the two shots required.
The government aims to inoculate 70 million people to achieve immunity against COVID-19.
Those who have received the vaccines include 965,169 out of the country’s 1.7 million health workers, who are at the top of the vaccination priority list.
Most vaccine recipients are from Metro Manila, followed by Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Central Visayas, Davao Region, SOCCSKSARGEN, Ilocos, Northern Mindanao, and Western Visayas regions, Roque said.
The Philippines has received 2.5 million vaccine doses from China’s Sinovac Biotech, and 525,600 AstraZeneca doses from the World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVAX Facility.
The government last week suspended the use of AstraZeneca for those below 60 years old, over reports of very rare blood clots from the vaccine. But regulators cleared Sinovac's vaccine for use on seniors.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), meanwhile, said the next in line for jabs after health care workers, seniors and people with co-morbidities are workers with “high levels of interaction with or exposure to the public.”
The 13 sub-groups under A4:
A4.1 - Commuter transport (land, air, and sea), including logistics (delivery)
A4.2 - Frontline government workers in justice, security, transportand social protection sectors (including working in jails, policeofficers, social workers in crisis intervention units)
A4.3 - Public and private wet and dry market vendors; frontline workers in grocery, supermarkets; delivery services
A4.4 - Workers in manufacturing for food, beverage, medical and pharmaceutical products
A4.5 - Frontline workers in food retail, including food service delivery
A4.6 - Frontline government workers (including safety inspectors, field enumerators, tax and clearance personnel)
A4.7 - Frontline workers in Financial Services (including frontliners in banks, money remittance establishments)
A4.8 - Teaching and related personnel in medical and allied medical courses of higher education institutions, including personnel handling laboratories
A4.9 - Frontline workers in hotels and accommodation (especially establishments doubling as quarantine facilities)
A4.10 - Priests, Pastors, religious leaders regardless of denomination
A4.11 - Construction workers in government infrastructure projects
A4.12 - Security guards/personnel assigned in the establishments, offices, agencies, and organizations identified in these priority sectors
A4.13 - OFWs not classified above, and scheduled for deployment within two months
Under A1 are health workers, A2 are those 60 years old and above, and A3 are those with co-morbidities. Those three are already being simultaneously vaccinated. A4 are “frontline personnel in essential sectors both in public and private sectors, including uniformed personnel” while A5 are poor Filipinos included in the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction.
In other developments:
• The Palace said it sticks by its decision to by Chinese vaccines despite the admission of China’s top disease control official that the efficacy of their country’s COVID-19 vaccine is low. Roque said despite this assessment, China-made vaccines still provide protection against severe COVID-19 and deaths.
• The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet received any report of blood clotting in those who have received AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, the agency’s chief said Monday. The DOH earlier suspended the use of AstraZeneca's vaccine on people aged 59 and below. “So far our national adverse events following the immunization committee has written to us yesterday and said there were no reported cases of blood clotting connected to our immunization program,” FDA Director General Eric Domingo said on ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.