Even as President Rodrigo Duterte expressed confidence the Philippines will overcome the COVID-19 pandemic through more inoculations, only over 500,000 Filipinos were confirmed to receive vaccines for the first day of the three-day national vaccination drive from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.
According to the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC), a total of 547,628 jabs were administered yesterday — only about 17 percent of the three million inoculation target per day.
NVOC chairperson Myrna Cabotaje said only 903 out of 1,600 local government units participating in the three-day campaign have submitted reports, hence the low number.
During the launching of the Vax Day drive dubbed “Bayanihan, Bakunahan,” Duterte said it is very important for Filipinos to take a whole-of-nation approach to win against the coronavirus that has sorely plagued the country for almost two years.
The vaccination program aims to administer nine million COVID-19 vaccines in three days – down from an original goal of 15 million — to bring the number of immunized Filipinos to 54 million by yearend.
“This is our single biggest push to fast-track vaccination and reach our target of 70 percent population protection nationwide,” Duterte said during the launch event at SM City Masinag in Antipolo City, Rizal.
“With God’s abiding grace, and with our genuine malasakit (concern) for our fellow Filipinos, we will overcome this pandemic and come out stronger and better as a nation,” he said.
However, Cabotaje said some LGUs were unable to accommodate walk-in patients, others experienced an overwhelming response, and some LGUs had difficulty submitting reports.
She urged children who were not accommodated to schedule an appointment.
“Some LGUs could have grouped the children using Pfizer. In some areas, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may not be available,” Cabotaje added, saying LGUs may extend their hours and add more teams to address the challenges.
The President urged the public to continue following health protocols like the wearing of face masks, handwashing, and physical distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.
“I call on every Filipino for your continued cooperation in fighting against COVID-19 by getting vaccinated and continuing to follow our minimum public health standards,” he said.
The President said the government aims to inoculate 80 percent of the population of minors aged 12 to 17 years and complete the booster shots for those belonging to the A1, A2, and A3 sectors.
“This multi-sectoral event is a resounding expression of our Bayanihan spirit which coincides with the nation’s observance of Bonifacio Day on November 30. Indeed, the heroic example of Gat Andres Bonifacio’s courage resonates in each of us as we work together to fast track and intensify our efforts to overcome this pandemic,” he said.
In other developments:
The national government is planning to begin the inoculation of minors aged five to 11 years old by January next year, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said Monday.
The Philippine government has signed an agreement with Pfizer-BioNTech for the purchase of an additional 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, bringing to 60 million the total vaccine shots ordered by the country from the US-based manufacturer.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has placed all available transport assets, including its aircraft, on alert for possible transport missions in support of the three-day national mass vaccination against Covid-19 which kicked off on Monday.
Medical teams of the AFP are tasked to vaccinate residents in the so-called geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAS) for the three-day national vaccination days from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday deployed seven 10-man medical teams to assist in the ongoing three-day national vaccination program until Dec. 1.
The Manila Health Department (MHD) on Monday has started rolling out its massive three-day vaccination drive in the 75 sites in the city, aimed at protecting over a million Manila residents and visitors of the city against COVID-19.