Interior Secretary Eduardo Año stressed the need Monday to have COVID-19 vaccination offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in Metro Manila to prevent the further spread of the storming coronavirus.
Año was interviewed on CNN Philippines, where he added local government units would go overtime and set evening schedules for the vaccinations amid stricter restrictions in Metro Manila.
“As soon as possible, we really need that. This is one of the best ways to slow down and address the transmission [of the coronavirus],” he said, adding they were targeting to administer four million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Metro Manila.
In Manila, Mayor Isko Moreno has bared the plan of the LGU to open a 24/7 COVID-19 vaccination, according to GMA News.
The “24/7 Walang Tulugang Bakunahan” will be done during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine from August 6 to 20.
Moreno called for volunteers from medical and non-medical fields to help the 24/7 vaccination in the city.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos Jr. on Saturday said Metro Manila mayors had agreed to continue with the 250,000 vaccinations a day during the two-week reimposed enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region from August 6 to 20.
On Saturday, the National Task Force against COVID-19 recommended the vaccination of Metro Manila residents even if they do not belong to any priority group.
The recommendation came after the request of Metro Manila Mayors for a supply of four million doses of COVID-19 vaccines was approved.
Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya has said the government can administer 250,000 COVID-19 jabs daily in Metro Manila during its two-week enhanced community quarantine starting August 6.
The number of jabs administered in the capital region last Saturday reached 187,000, Malaya said.
Metro Manila residents scheduled for their COVID-19 vaccination will be authorized to leave their homes – the same line used by the Department of health – Malaya said, ruling out house-to-house vaccination for the general public. But bedridden residents may avail themselves of home vaccination, he added.
Some 9,115,963 individuals have received their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine as of Sunday, while a total of 20,863,544 jabs have been administered, according to government data.
The Philippines on Monday got 415,040 doses of AstraZeneca, bringing to 7.2 million the number of British-made COVID-19 vaccine doses the country has received since February.
The Bureau of Customs - Ninoy Aquino International Airport pre-cleared the latest shipment donated by the United Kingdom to the Philippine government in line with its program to inoculate at least 40 million people by the end of the year.
The shipment was scheduled to land at the airport from Dubai around 4:15 p.m. via the Emirates Air flight EK-332.
The government’s third-party cold-chain facility and logistics partner Pharmaserv Express will receive the shipment to keep it safe in its facility in Marikina City before delivery to various local government units where there are a high number of cases of COVID-19 Delta variant.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the doses were donated by the British government as part of its effort to help poor countries in the fight against the pandemic.
The number of senior citizens inoculated against COVID-19 went up during recent weeks but is still below the target, the Department of Health said.
“Of late, these past two weeks, we were able to increase the number of those senior citizens being vaccinated but of course it’s still not reaching that target that we would want,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told ANC in an interview.
As of July 25, about 2.8 million senior citizens have gotten a COVID-19 jab, 1.6 million of whom are fully vaccinated.
The government is aiming to vaccinate around 9 million senior citizens.
Last week, the World Health Organization expressed concern over the “unacceptable” low rate of vaccination of senior citizens despite there being enough supplies for them.
Senator Christopher Go said doses of Moderna vaccines were likely to arrive in the Philippines on Tuesday, August 3 as a donation of the United States through the COVAX facility.
“President Duterte will personally witness the arrival of the vaccines from COVAX donated by the United States of America,” Go said.
During a meeting with US Defense Sec. Llyod Austin III, President Duterte expressed his gratitude for the US support to the Philippines’ COVID-19 response, especially the 3.2 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines it had earlier donated also through the COVAX Facility.
Go said the U.S. was expected to donate more vaccines next year as he hoped the Philippines would be one of those countries to receive additional donated doses.
“We might be given priority in these vaccine donations especially if there is a need for booster shots since we don’t know where this COVID-19 pandemic will bring us, when will this end,” said Go.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is offering free rides at the three mass rail systems in Metro Manila starting today (August 3) as incentives to vaccinated authorized persons outside residence (APOR).
Transportation Secretary Art Tugade ordered free rides at MRT3, LRT-2 and PNR to encourage more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Initially, the free rides will run from August 3 to August 20, 2021.
“This is to help ensure the health and safety of our citizens, and to help the government encourage more of our kababayans to get vaccinated,” he added.
Tugade said commuters who had received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine could avail themselves of the free rides by presenting their vaccination card.
The Philippine Ports Authority, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and Manila International Airport Authority will also provide free coffee, bottled water and snacks to vaccinated passengers.
Sen. Grace Poe has pushed for the expansion of the coverage of vaccine cards to allow more mobility for fully inoculated individuals and make it easier for overseas Filipino workers to travel for employment.
“Now that we are once again about to enter a two-week hard lockdown, we need to have a recovery plan for the economy to keep businesses from closing and more people from losing jobs in the pandemic,” said Poe.
Poe recently filed Senate Bill 2321 to expand the objectives of the vaccine card from being a purely informative record to a recognized document which a fully vaccinated individual can use as a requirement abroad or domestic travel, as may be allowed under the regulations of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
Due to the purely informative nature of the vaccine card as provided for in the law, it remains insufficient proof of inoculation to allow individuals to travel, especially the OFWs who need to leave the country for employment.
A legislator from Rizal on Monday asked the national government to provide more vaccines to localities around Metro Manila or the so-called “NCR plus” areas.
Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles made the call following the national government’s decision to allocate an additional four million vaccine doses to the National Capital Region.
Metro Manila mayors earlier sought additional four million vaccine doses for their constituents
In a statement, Nograles said: “We understand that the request of Metro mayors is due to the imposition of another Enhanced Community Quarantine. However, while nearby provinces were spared from the ECQ declaration, they were placed under a General Community Quarantine with heightened restrictions.
“ECQ or GCQ, the fact remains that we are placing both areas under stricter restrictions due to the threat of a new surge because of the Delta variant.”