PH vaccination program vs. COVID-19 is 'on track' — Galvez

Published April 27, 2021, 3:58 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

Despite delays in the delivery of vaccines, the country is expected to hit its target of inoculating around 70 million Filipinos to achieve herd immunity by the end of 2021.

This was declared by Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, at the virtual pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) forum of the economic development and infrastructure clusters on Monday, April 27.

“We are still on track. This (target completion) is still depending on the arrival of the vaccines. Your government is working hard to ensure that the country will have a fair share of the vaccines,” he said.

The first batch of Sputnik V vaccines from Russia was supposed to arrive last Sunday but it was delayed due to a shortage in the global supply, Galvez said.

The initial delivery of the 15,000 doses of Sputnik V jabs was moved to Wednesday, April 28.

By the end of the month, the country is expected to receive 480,000 doses more of Sputnik V vaccines from the Gamaleya Research Institute of Russia and 500,000 doses of CoronaVac vaccines from Sinovac Biotech manufacturing company of China.

“We are eyeing to achieve herd immunity of targeted areas where surge in cases are evident such as in Metro Manila and nearby provinces by October or November,” he said.

The national government is eyeing to procure a total of 140 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and acquire another 44 million doses from the Covax facility, a World Health Organization (WHO)-led initiative which aims to give all countries an equal access to the vaccines.

The government has earmarked a total of P82.5 billion for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, Galvez said.

Of these, P70 billion were sourced from different multilateral loans and assumed savings; P10 billion came from the budget appropriated under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan II); and P2.5 billion were sourced from the Department of Health (DOH)’s 2021 budget.

At present, the country has a total vaccine supply of 3,525,600 doses which are composed of donated and procured vaccines from Sinovac Biotech and AstraZeneca.