MANILA – A large portion of the newly delivered 3,000,060 doses of Moderna vaccine on Tuesday will be dedicated to the indigent Filipinos.
National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., said the latest vaccine shipment is part of the donations of the United States (US) government to the Philippines through the COVAX Facility led by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The US government has initially donated 3,213,200 doses of Johnson&Johnson’s single-dose Janssen Covid-19 vaccine delivered in July.
Galvez, also the vaccine czar, thanked the US government for “generously” providing free Covid-19 vaccines to the Philippines.
“We would like to thank the US government for their generosity. We would like to thank the US government in this endeavor and for not leaving us during this time of the pandemic,” Galvez said in a sideline interview during the arrival of the Moderna vaccine at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.
Galvez noted that the US government gave the Philippines a “leeway” to decide where the vaccine should be given.
He, however, said the utilization of the vaccines will be in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines and the country’s vaccination plan.
The vaccine czar echoed President Rodrigo Duterte’s recommendation to use the newly arrived jabs for indigent citizens.
“At least 500,000 or more will be given to our indigent Filipino people kasi matagal na niyang sinasabi na ang mga vaccine ay talagang ibibigay natin (because he has been saying that the vaccines should be given) for free, particularly in poor communities and vulnerable sectors. With this, we will comply with President’s guidance,” Galvez said.
The bulk of the US-donated vaccine, he said, will be deployed in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Batangas, Rizal, Bulacan, Metro Davao, and Metro Cebu–collectively known as National Capital Region (NCR) Plus 8 bubble.
He added those areas having a surge of Covid-19 cases such as Region 3 (Central Luzon), Region 4-A (Calabarzon), Region 6 (Western Visayas), including other parts of Visayas and Mindanao like cities of Gingoog, Cagayan de Oro, in Leyte and even Ilocos region–will also get a huge volume of newly delivered vaccine.
“Ang guidance po natin dito ay ibibigay po natin sa mga areas na nagkakaroon ng surge at sa NCR naman they will use the ECQ to inoculate more people (Our guidance here is that we will deploy the vaccines in areas that are having a surge of cases while the NCR is expected to use the imposition of the ECQ to inoculate more people),” said Galvez, noting that the country is “racing against time.”
The government targets to acquire about 22 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in August, but for now, Galvez said around 16 million will surely be delivered this month.
“We are still negotiating for more [jabs]. So for me, the deployment of around six million vaccines in the NCR Plus 8 and in other provinces could be possible,” he added.
Galvez also announced the Chinese government is set to deliver its one million doses of donated-Sinopharm vaccine “most likely” on August 10.
Prioritization in vax program
While the government commits to immediately vaccinated indigents, Galvez said prioritizing the inoculation of senior citizens (A2) and persons with co-morbidities (A3) is still crucial for the country–to reduce hospitalization and fatality rates among vulnerable sectors.
He urged the local government units (LGUs) to maximize their efforts in encouraging A2 and A3 priority groups to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“Once that we have already accomplished the A2 and A3 sectors, like what Mandaluyong have done vaccinating 100 percent of the elderly population, basically the hospitalization and deaths will gonna be diminished. As much as possible pagsumikapan pa rin natin yung (let’s strive hard) and we have to be patient with the seniors,” he said.
Galvez said if the LGUs could do a house-to-house vaccination for A2 and A3, then, they have to do so.
“We would like to encourage our LGUs, particularly those who are now in ECQ and MECQ to maximize their time and efforts and to exploit the condition of the stringent restrictions and prioritize our vaccination program,” he said.
Galvez commended the “Bakuna nights” being done in Quezon City, Taguig and Valenzuela despite having a limited vaccine supply,
“I think it’s more than enough kasi nakikita natin yung target nila nakukuha ngayon (because we can see that the target is being met),” he said. “Immediately, we will deploy tomorrow this Moderna and hopefully we will fast track the deliveries of other vaccine deliveries these coming weeks.”
The latest shipment brings the country’s total Covid-19 vaccine to 37,275,780 doses. (PNA)
Credit belongs to : www.pna.gov.ph