MALACANANG (25 October 2021)— The Philippines is set to hit the 100 million mark this week in terms of total COVID-19 vaccine arrivals to the country, as more than 26.3 million doses have been added to the national inventory this October.

As of October 25, the country’s cumulative vaccine arrivals since February reached 97,678,340 doses, of which more than 77.99 million doses have been deployed to local government units, while 56.25 million doses have already been administered nationwide.

“This week, kailangan na lang natin is 2.3 million. At more or less, mga siguro po sa Wednesday or Thursday, darating na po ‘yung mga vaccines sa COVAX at saka po ‘yung mga donation,” said National Task Force against COVID 19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. during President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the People address on Monday.

Galvez said that these additional vaccines would enable the country to fully vaccinate at least 50 million individuals before year end.

He added that apart from procured doses, vaccine donations from partner countries such as the United States, China, Japan, and Germany are expected to increase within this quarter.

“Naka-gain ng traction po ‘yung ating political relations with other countries. Kung titingnan po natin, ang COVAX po at saka donation po ng other countries ay umabot na po ng halos 30 million po,” Galvez said.

Of the 97.67 million vaccine doses that have been delivered to the country, 24.33 million doses were donated through the COVAX facility, while 4.64 million were donations from bilateral partners.

Meanwhile, 60.72 million doses were procured by the national government and 7.98 million doses were purchased by LGUs and the private sector.

The vaccine czar reported that the country still has more than 41.96 million doses in national warehouses and are ready to be deployed to various implementing units.

He said that directives have already been given, through the Department of Interior and Local Government as well as the Department of Health, to local chief executives of cities and provinces to accelerate their respective vaccination programs in order to hit and sustain the 1.5 million doses daily jab rate this quarter.

As of October 25, there are now 25,955,669 fully vaccinated individuals in the country, which represents 33.65% of the country’s target population.

Accelerating vaccine rollout for children

Since the vaccination program’s pilot rollout for the pediatric sector last October 15, the number of partially vaccinated children aged 12 to 17 years old with comorbidities has now reached 12,958.

Galvez said that with the country’s increasing vaccine supply, the national government will continue to accelerate the vaccine rollout for this age group by opening more vaccination sites for them.

He said that from the initial eight hospitals, the country now has 26 hospitals administering COVID 19 vaccines to the pediatric sector.

“We want to protect our children from severe disease and hospitalization. Kasi nakita natin noong Delta, almost 20 percent or 17 percent po ang nakita natin na na-hospitalize na mga bata,” Galvez said.

He added that the vaccination of children will also be instrumental in the reopening of face-to-face classes and ‘ancillary businesses’ related to the education sector.

Galvez likewise cited the social and mental impact of restricting the movement of children since the pandemic started.

He said allowing them to have ‘leeway to move around and play’ will not just help in protecting the mental well-being of minors, but also revive economic activities especially this Christmas season.

“We can only do these kung ma-vaccinate na rin natin ang mga bata so they will have ‘yung consumers’ confidence to go out,” Galvez said.

The NTF aims to complete the vaccination of children within this age group by December.

Based on the 2021 Philippine Projected Population of the Philippine Statistics Authority, the country has a population of 12,722,070 under the 12 to 17 years old age group. gal

Galvez earlier said that masterlisting will not be needed for children with comorbidities and will only be based on registration.

Prep work for booster shots

The vaccine czar shared that the NTF is now preparing for the rollout of booster shots for healthcare workers and immunocompromised individuals following the recommendation of Health Technology Assessment Council.

He said that while they are waiting for the amendment of the Emergency Use Authorization for the vaccines to be used as booster shots, as well as the review from the DOH All Experts Group, the NTF is now starting to secure supplies for the said priority groups.

“Sa healthcare workers, we will allot more or less 2 million doses and we have enough doses for them. Irregardless of brand, mayroon po tayo na nakatabi” Galvez said.

“And then for the immunocompromised and elderly, we will be requiring 5 million, and we also have enough doses with the succeeding deliveries,” he added.

Galvez said the administration of booster shots may begin by November depending on the month a healthcare worker or immunocompromised was vaccinated.

Individuals under these categories who were vaccinated in March, April, and May will be qualified to receive the booster shots.

Galvez said around three million individuals are expected to belong to this priority group. END