PASIG CITY (12 October 2021) – The Philippines has breached the 50 million-mark in the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered across the country based on the latest data from the National Vaccination Operation Center (NVOC).

As of October 11, a total of 50,066,590 doses have already been administered to more than 30 million Filipinos nationwide, of which 23,360,489 individuals have been fully vaccinated or 30.28% of the country’s target population.

“This milestone comes at a time when our country’s vaccine supply is continuously arriving in bulk, and the entire government is focused on ramping up the vaccination program to ensure we inoculate as many people as possible in a faster and more efficient manner,” said National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. on Tuesday.

Inspiration for all

“We welcome this development. It will serve as an inspiration to all of us, as we continue to expand the vaccine rollout to the general population and start the inoculation of our youth by Friday,” he added.

According to Galvez, more than half a million vaccine doses have been administered to priority groups B and C, which cover teachers, as well as government and private sector workers.

He said these priority groups will be recategorized and integrated into the general population group.

“With the influx of our vaccine supply, it is also right to simplify our priority sectors to ensure we inoculate all the unvaccinated Filipinos,” Galvez said.

“Our challenge right now is generating greater demand among our people. And the best way to do this is to vaccinate all Filipinos who are willing to get the jab,” he added.

Galvez said the expansion of the vaccine rollout to the general population is part of the country’s recalibrated vaccination plan.

However, the vaccine czar explained that while the government is pushing for an expanded coverage of its vaccine rollout, priority will still be given to senior citizens and those who are highly vulnerable to the disease.

On October 15, the Philippines will begin the inoculation of 12 to 17 year olds with comorbidities in eight selected hospitals in Metro Manila.

According to Galvez, the country now has enough vaccine supplies to inoculate roughly 1.2 million adolescents with comorbidities, of which around 144,123 are from the National Capital Region.

“The bulk of our deliveries this fourth quarter, as you have seen in our recent arrivals, are from Pfizer and Moderna. These are the same vaccines that will be used to inoculate our younger population. We already have the supply and we are ready for the rollout,” said Galvez.

The Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration has granted Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines with Emergency Use Authorization for the use of those within the 12 to 17 years old age group.

Role of LGUs in ramping up PH vaccination efforts

In support of the National Vaccination Program, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has released a memorandum to all local government units (LGUs) to ensure the timely distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccines, to prevent their wastage, and increase public uptake for the vaccines.

“So dito po, lahat ng supply ng bakuna na matatanggap ng LGU ay dapat maayos na pinamamahalaan para maiwasan ang pagkasira ng mga ito,” said DILG Secretary and NTF Vice Chairman Secretary Eduardo Año during his report to the President on October 11.

“Ang mga supply ng bakunang natatanggap ng probinsiya at siyudad ay dapat maipamahagi sa mga LGU sa loob ng 15 araw hanggang 30 araw simula sa araw nang pagkaka-deliver nito, at dapat ay maiturok din sa loob ng tatlong araw pagkatanggap ng mga bakuna,” Año added.

The DILG chief also required all LGUs to come up with their respective Risk Communication Plans that will reflect national policies and should be effectively implemented by assigned offices in the localities.

“At lahat po ng kaso ng pagpapabaya at kawalang pag-iingat ng mga empleyado na magiging sanhi ng pagkasira ng mga bakuna ay iimbestigahan at papatawan ng karampatang parusa ng mga mapapatunayan nagpabaya,” Año added.

Galvez earlier urged LGUs to be creative in implementing their vaccination program to generate demand and encourage people, especially those under A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with comorbidities) groups, to get vaccinated.

Meanwhile, NTF Chairman and Department of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana attributed the decline in COVID-19 cases to the effective implementation of the Crisis Action Plan.

“Mula sa communities sub-cluster, nakapagdagdag tayo ng 5,514 contact tracers mula October 3 to 7. Ang kabuuan na po ngayon ng ating contact tracers ay 136,937,” Lorenzana said.

“Nakapag-trace, assess, at isolate ng 21,898 probable at 11,652 confirmed cases sa loob ng 24 na oras. Nasa 86,228 close contacts ang natrace sa mga nagpositibo sa COVID-19,” he continued.

Lorenzana said that NTF will create a One Oxygen Command Center in regions throughout the country like what it did in Region IX.

“Maglalabas tayo ng polisiya para magkaroon ng green lane sa mga pantalan para sa mabilis na paggalaw ng oxygen supply at tiyakin na hindi mawawalan ng supply ng kuryente sa mga plantang gumagawa ng medical oxygen,” he added.

Lorenzana also reported that medical professionals from the Armed Forces of the Philippines continue to be deployed to various LGUs in Metro Manila that need assistance.

On Monday, October 11, eight nurses were deployed to the Lung Center of the Philippines to attend to COVID 19 patients there for a month. END