NTF sends 500K Sinovac jabs to NCR+; herd immunity eyed in Metro by October

Published April 23, 2021, 10:15 AM

by Manila Bulletin

The National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 has allocated the lastest batch of 500,000 doses of CoronaVac brand vaccines to the National Capital Region (NCR)-plus and other areas experiencing a surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, as well as in economic centers.

In a statement Friday, April 23, vaccine czar and NTF chief implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said NCR or Metro Manila will get 100,000 doses of the Sinovac Biotech Ltd.-manufactured jabs while the rest of the supply will be sent to other “high-risk” areas.

These areas include cities and provinces in the NCR-plus such as Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal; and select areas in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Cagayan Valley (Region 2), Central Luzon (Region 3), Calabarzon (Region 4A), Western Visayas (Region 6), Central Visayas (Region 7), and Davao (Region 11).

“Ang focus natin ay doon sa mga areas na tumataas ang mga kaso kung saan prayoridad natin ang A1 to A3. Kailangan bigyan sila ng agarang proteksyon para maiwasan ang burden of death and disease (Our focus is on areas with rising cases with the priority being [the vaccination of] A1 to A3. We need to give them immediate protection to avoid the burden of death and disease),” he said, referring to the simultaneous vaccination of priority groups that include healthcare workers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities.

All of the vaccines will be deployed to the targeted implementing units within three days and will be administered during a one-week period, he explained.

“We aim to achieve herd immunity in areas with a high attack rate, specifically in Metro Manila, by October or November. This is also our commitment with the NITAG (National Immunization Technical Advisory Group),” Galvez stressed.

Galvez joined top government officials in welcoming another batch of 500,000 doses of CoronaVac vaccines that arrived from China on Thursday, April 22.

These were part of the total 25 million vaccine doses that were secured by the country from China. Sinovac began its delivery of the government-procured vaccines on March 29 with one million doses.

Prior to the delivery of the procured CoronaVac vaccines, the Chinese government had donated one million doses to the Philippines, which were shipped to the country in two batches on February 28 and March 24. So far, three million Sinovac vaccines have been delivered to the country.

The next batch of incoming CoronaVac vaccines will be equally distributed among the other regions in order for them to continue implementing their inoculation programs, Galvez assured.