MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines can rely on a steady supply of COVID-19 vaccines with more deliveries already scheduled, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go said in a statement issued on Sunday.
Go made the statement in a radio interview on Friday, according to the statement.
Provided that the supplies arrive on time, Go said the government could meet its target of vaccinating 70 million Filipinos by the end of 2021 — which would hopefully lead to the end of the pandemic altogether.
“The government continues to buy [vaccines],” Go said in Filipino. “Hopefully, by April, there will be five million doses lined up. When May arrives, there will be additional deliveries again. May this continue. the second quarter, many more will be vaccinated, and we will slowly be able to attain the target of vaccinating 70 million people.”
As chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go further assured that the government had already secured the necessary amount of doses to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers.
He stressed that the vaccination priority list issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 must be followed amid reports of individuals jumping the vaccination line.
“We already have around 1.5 million [doses] donated. Half of these will be good for 750,000 frontliners. The good news is those bought by the government will be arriving on Monday. President [Rodrigo] Duterte will be there to welcome the delivery of one million doses of Sinovac [vaccines, called CoronaVac]. There will also be 900,000 [doses] arriving from the COVAX facility soon. All these will total around 3.4 million doses. So these are enough for our frontliners.”
According to Go, the latest count puts the government supply of vaccines at 1,000,000 CoronaVac doses and 525,600 Astrazeneca doses. The incoming shipment from Sinovac will raise the country’s total to 2,525,600 doses.
“Our priority now is to vaccinate the frontline health workers, then senior citizens, and then essential workers and indigents. Don’t worry. It will all reach down to everyone,” he said.
Go reiterated that the 3.4 million doses that would be accumulated by the start of the second quarter of this year would be enough to inoculate the country’s 1.7 million frontliners. After that, the government can start inoculating others following the priority list and eventually the general public.
Asked if he had a brand preference, Go said he would be willing to be vaccinated with any brand approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
He added that he and Duterte would willing to be inoculated in public to help build public confidence on vaccines. But he said the president could only do so on the recommendation of his doctor.
For now, he said the executive branch remain focused on getting enough vaccines for the people despite a limited global supply.
“Let’s trust the government, and let’s not be afraid of the vaccines because they are the key and the solution for us to get past this crisis,” he said.
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