THE Philippines’ current supply of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines can only be allotted for 30 percent of the 1.7 million health workers in the country, Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd said on Wednesday.
Duque made the statement as he once again appealed to the public to follow the prioritization list for the country’s Covid-19 vaccination program.
In a pre-recorded meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, Duque said the country has 900,000 remaining doses of the vaccine, which includes the latest delivery of 400,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine donated by China.
“This is not enough because the total delivery which is about 1,525, 600 of the first group, Mr. President. Iyan po eh ‘yong total na dumating (that’s the total number of vaccines that arrived) is only about 30 percent of our requirement for the 1.7 million healthcare workers,” he said.
Duque noted that since vaccination requires two doses, the government should secure 3.4 million doses for healthcare workers, who were on top of the government’s priority list.
“So kulang na kulang yung bakuna sa ngayon, Mr. President (So our current supply of vaccines is really not enough as of now),” Duque said.
“Kailangan sundin yung priority listing para maging maayos ang ating bakunahan program (We need to follow the priority listing for our vaccination program to have a smooth implementation),” he added.
Under the vaccination roadmap, the government will facilitate the vaccination of individuals under the A1 to A3 priority groups.
A1 category includes frontliners from private and public health institutions; health professionals; non-professionals such as students, nursing aides, janitors; village health workers; and national and local government front-liners.
The A2 category covers senior citizens while falling under A3 are individuals with comorbidities.
The private sector will facilitate the inoculation of Filipinos under the A4 priority group, such as uniformed personnel and other essential front-liners.
As of March 23, the Philippines has vaccinated 508,332 individuals, according to the latest data from the Department of Health (DoH) and the National Task Force Against Covid-19.
At least 98 percent of the available vaccines — or 1,105,500 out of 1,125,600 — have been distributed to various regions, according to the DoH.
The government aims to inoculate 70 percent of the total population, or about 70 million Filipinos, before the end of the year.
This will supposedly trigger “herd immunity,” a form of indirect protection when a sufficient percentage of the population becomes immune to an infectious disease.