MALACAÑANG, MANILA — The National Task Force (NTF) against COVID 19 is determined to close the gap between the administration of the first and second dose of the anti-COVID vaccines among priority groups A1 (healthcare workers), A2 (senior citizens), and A3 (persons with comorbidities).

According to NTF Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr, the task force, together with local government units (LGUs) and the private sector, aim to administer at least 10 million jabs by July, half of which are allocated for the second dose.

“Nasa 4.54 percent pa lang ng ating population ang nakakuha ng second dose o fully vaccinated. So napakalaki ng atin pong challenge na makuha ‘yung herd immunity by end of the year,” Galvez said during the Talk to the People program on Monday, July 12.

As of July 11, he said a total of 13,196,282 jabs have been administered nationwide. More than 9.6 million Filipinos have received the first dose, while 3.5 million have been given their second shot.

“Kaya ngayong buwang ito, isa sa mga bagay na dapat nating makamit ay magkaroon ng seven million na katao na makakuha ng kanilang second dose,” Galvez added.

He said the NTF is aiming to fully vaccinate all healthcare workers within this month or at least make sure that 90% of the A1 priority group received the second dose. Currently, only 72% of the sector’s members have been fully vaccinated.

Galvez said the National Vaccination and Operations Center (NVOC) is closely monitoring all implementing units in their administration of the second dose, while keeping track of vaccine deployment across the country.

The Department of Health and infectious disease experts have underscored the importance of getting both doses of the vaccine to ensure they get full protection against COVID 19 and its different variants.

President Duterte also reiterated his appeal to all Filipinos to get vaccinated. 

“Please get vaccinated as soon as possible. The life you will be saving is not only your own but of your loved ones and the people around you,” the President said.

I also appeal to our countrymen to continue observing the health protocols so that we can prevent and avoid the spread of COVID-19,” he added.

Galvez said that with arrival of more than 16 million doses of anti-COVID vaccines this month, including the three million one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines from the COVAX facility and the US government, he is confident the country will be able to fully inoculate seven to eight million Filipinos by the end of July.

Confidence on current vaccination trend

In his presentation, the vaccine czar noted that despite the delays in vaccine deliveries in the first half of the month, the government was still able to administer 2,492,578 doses in 11 days, and breached the 13-million-mark last week.

“Kaya po alam po natin na kayang-kaya natin [maabot ang target]. Ngayon po tutulong din po ang private sector sa kanilang inoculation dahil kasi mayroon pong darating na more or less 1.5 million [doses] na para sa kanila kasama po ang Moderna,” Galvez said.

He added the national government will also augment the vaccine supply of the private sector in order to raise the vaccination throughput this month, which is placed at 300,000 to 400,000 jabs daily.

According to Galvez, the continued rise in vaccinations over the past several weeks is a very good indication that the trend will continue in the next two months.

Galvez said the Philippines will be able to breach the 30 million mark in jabs administered by August, and hit the 40 million mark by the end of September.

The Philippine government aims to inoculate 77,476,906 Filipinos by year end, which is 70% of the country’s population of 111 million.

Vaccine supply updates

Since February, a total of 20,779,910 doses of anti-COVID 19 vaccines have been delivered to the country.

Of this number, 10,699,600 were procured by the government, 900,000 were purchased by the private sector and local government units, 2.1 million doses were donated by partner nations, while seven million came from the COVAX facility.

More than 17 million vaccine doses have been deployed to implementing units throughout the country.

Galvez said the country expects to receive at least 16 million doses monthly for this quarter, consisting of government-procured doses from Moderna, Sinovac, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Gamaleya (Sputinik V).

He said Sinovac is accelerating its vaccine deliveries to the country with confirmed shipments of 7.5 million doses in July and 8.4 million doses in August.

Galvez said Pfizer will also begin the delivery of the country’s procured doses with 562,770 shots scheduled to be delivered on July 19, and another 375,570 doses set to arrive by July 26.

He said the American-based company will increase to at least two million doses its vaccine allocation for the Philippines.

With the arrival of more vaccine doses in the coming weeks, Galvez expressed optimism that the country’s vaccine rollout will continue to gain momentum with the strong collaboration between the national government, LGUs and the private sector. END