Gov’t eyes prioritizing key areas for COVID-19 vaccination as delivery delays loom
MANILA, Philippines — The government is proposing to prioritize in its COVID-19 vaccination program certain key areas in the country with “economic and social importance” as well as those with high infection rate in anticipation of a delay in vaccine deliveries due to constricted global supply, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the country’s vaccine manager, said.
Some countries, such as India, had started barring the export of COVID-19 vaccines, Galvez said during the pre-recorded weekly address of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“With what’s happening to India right now, it has a big effect in our supply [of vaccines] bought from India. There’s a probable delay,” he said, speaking partly in Filipino.
“Considering that we’re going to have a shortfall in our supply, we’re recommending that we have prioritization,” Galvez added.
The following areas, which observed a high number of infections last year, should be prioritized in receiving vaccine doses, Galvez said:
- Metro Manila
- Central Luzon
- Baguio City
- Cordillera Administrative Region
- Cagayan Valley
- Cebu City
- Bacolod City
- Iloilo City
- Central Visayas
- Western Visayas
- Eastern Visayas
- Davao City
- Cagayan de Oro City
- Zamboanga City
- General Santos City
- Iligan City
- Davao Region
- Zamboanga Peninsula
- Northern Mindanao
By concentrating the vaccine supply in these areas, the government only needs to aim to inoculate about 58.6 million individuals, or 70% of 83 million people, to achieve herd immunity. This is in lieu of aiming to achieve herd immunity by inoculating 70% of the 110 million total population, Galvez explained.
“If we can get 70% – that is, herd immunity — in those areas, the chances are big that our economy will recover and the chances are big that we will prevent a surge in those areas that are very vulnerable,” he said.
The government has so far deployed 3,745,120 out of 4,040,600 vaccine doses in several vaccination sites, Galvez said.
A total of 1,658539 Filipinos have been vaccinated, and a total of 1,948,080 doses have been used as some people have already received their second dose of the vaccines, he added.
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