DOH eyes deadline extension for use of distributed COVID-19 vaccines
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) is discussing extending the period for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines in areas with low uptake of the shots.
“Given the need to cover as many healthcare workers as possible, the extension of the said deadline is currently being deliberated,” DOH said in a statement on Thursday.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier ordered the administration of all distributed vaccines to healthcare workers by March 25. But DOH had mentioned that the deadline is March 24, and even warned that it may retrieve the vaccines from areas with low utilization and transfer them instead to COVID-19 hotspots.
According to the health agency, the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses dispensed has increased following this directive.
“This is an observed improvement in the performance of our vaccination sites: from reported 48% consumption of allocated first dose of vaccines as of 6PM March 21 to 62% as of 6PM March 23–a span of 2 days,” DOH noted.
The DOH said it will “exhaust all efforts to ensure all willing HCWs (healthcare workers) are vaccinated before we proceed to the next priority groups.”
The country has so far secured donations of 1,525,600 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from China and global vaccine sharing pool COVAX Facility.
So far, a total of 508,332 frontliners have been vaccinated against COVID-19 since the government rolled out its inoculation program on March 1.
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