NCR gets biggest chunk of PH vaccine supply

Published March 2, 2021, 1:34 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The government is allocating the biggest portion in the supply of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines to the National Capital Region (NCR),which is considered as the epicenter of the pandemic in the country.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, said 130,000 doses of CoronaVac vaccines from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. will be given to NCR hospitals.

“So nakita po natin sa NCR, considering na iyong NCR mayroon tayong 17 highly urbanized na cities, mayroon po tayo na 130,000 (Considering that we have 17 highly-urbanized cities in NCR, we have 130,000 [doses] here),” Galvez told President Duterte during the latter’s weekly Cabinet briefing Monday night.

Metro Manila’s allocation forms part of the total 146,000 doses that will be distributed in three areas, including Calabarzon or Region 4A (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) and Baguio City in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

Meanwhile, a total of 70,000 doses will be divided to five regions namely Ilocos (Region 1), Cagayan Valley (Region 2), Central Luzon (Region 3), Mimaropa (Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan or Region 4B), and Bicol (Region 5).

Based on Galvez’ presentation, Luzon will get a total of 216,000 doses. Meanwhile, he said that the entire Visayas will get 26,000 doses while Mindanao will receive 24,000 vials.

Galvez explained that the allocations were obtained after government authorities, led by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, met top officials of medical institutions in the country during a series of town hall meetings to determine how many doses of vaccines they wanted once they become available.

Initially, Galvez said that only 13 to 28 percent of hospital officials preferred Sinovac vaccine. But after the vaccine rollout on Monday, more doctors have contacted him to ask for a supply of Sinovac vaccine.

“I expect that the allocations will increase since some of the hospital officials are already calling me to secure a supply,” he said.

The vaccine czar said that the allocation in Visayas and Mindanao will be increased due to the rising number of active cases there.

He said around 75,000 doses will be used as a reserve supply which can be readily deployed in areas that will need them.

The vaccine allocation was bared after the arrival of 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines last Sunday. The government used some of these vaccines in the vaccination rollout held in Metro Manila on Monday.