PH gov’t targets vaccinations for up to 70-M Filipinos in 2021

Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine rollout to start in February

THE Philippine government is aiming to vaccinate 50 to 70 million Filipinos in 2021, with up to 200,000 individuals receiving jabs every day.

“We are trying to vaccinate at least 100 to 200,000 people every day. Yun po ang gagawin natin para at least magkaroon tayo ng record-breaking daily vaccination rollout (We are trying to vaccinate at least 100 to 200,000 people every day. That’s what we’re trying to do so that we can have a record-breaking daily vaccination rollout),”  the country’s vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Tuesday, January 12.

The vaccine czar also said that 25,000 vaccinators are currently being trained and that local government units are consolidating the list of individuals that will participate in the vaccinations.

“Marami na po tayo nabigyan ng training. Ongoing ang training natin, we are training more or less 25,000 vaccinators (Many have already been given training. This is ongoing and we are training more or less 25,000 vaccinators),” he said.

Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the Philippines may happen earlier than China’s Sinovac, according to Galvez.

“Baka mauna ang Pfizer because the COVAX facility will be deploying the early rollout of Pfizer so iintayin din namin ‘yun sa February (Pfizer may come earlier because the COVAX facility will be deploying the early rollout of Pfizer, so we will wait for that in February as well),” he told ANC’s Headstart.

The country is a candidate for the early rollout of the vaccine from the COVAX facility, a global platform that aims to ensure fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries.

Earlier, Galvez said the country’s vaccination campaign may start as early as February through the COVAX facility, receiving “more or less 40 million doses” of COVID-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, World Health Organization representative to the Philippines, said only Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is confirmed to be part of the COVAX early roll-out.

Pfizer on December 23, 2020 submitted its application for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of its COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines.
The Philippine Food and Drug Administration, for its part, said it will release its decision on the American drugmaker’s application by Tuesday or Wednesday, ahead of the target date of January 14.

Vaccine deals

On Monday, January 11, the country reportedly secured 25 million doses of China’s Sinovac.

“According to the Department of Health, we will have the first 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Sinovac. The vaccines will arrive in the Philippines next month,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in Filipino.

Of the 25 million doses, 50,000 will arrive in the country in February. In March, 950,000 doses will arrive, one million doses in April, another million doses in May, and two million doses in June, until all 25 million doses are delivered by December.

Despite Sinovac’s efficacy being called into question, Roque insisted that the vaccine has been “proven safe and efficient.”

The Philippines also signed an agreement to secure 30 million doses of Covovax vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer; and Novavax, a U.S.-based biotechnology company.

The delivery of the vaccine will begin in the third quarter of the year. It will be used to vaccinate 15 million Filipinos belonging to the vulnerable and poor sectors.

Currently, Covovax is in third-stage trials and expected to be approved for use by international regulators.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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