Gov't targets COVID-19 jabs for 9.7 M in NCR by November 2021

Published May 24, 2021, 2:50 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government is targeting to administer coronavirus vaccines to 9.77 million people in Metro Manila by November 2021 to protect them from the deadly disease.

A health worker administers a coronavirus vaccine to a Taguig City resident inside the ‘Vaccination Bus’ parked in Barangay Ususan, Taguig City on May 21, 2021. (Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, the government’s vaccination rate must reach around 108,000 doses per day to reach the “population protection” target in National Capital Region (NCR).

Of the 1.17 million COVID-19 cases in the country, Metro Manila has recorded 495,258 cases of infections as of May 23. The capital region, considered the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, is currently under general community quarantine but with “heightened restrictions” until the end of May.

“Nasa 13.9 million ang buong populasyon ng NCR. Na sa 70 percent ay 9.7 million ang target natin mabakunahan. Ang ibig sabihin nito ay kinakailangan tayo magpabakuna o makapagpabakuna ng 108,000 dada araw hanggang Nov. 27, 2021 (The entire population of NCR is 13.9 million. Our target is to vaccinate 70 percent of the population or 9.7 million. This means we must vaccinate 108,000 every day until Nov. 27, 2021),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Monday, May 24.

The government earlier disclosed plans to vaccinate 58 million to 70 million adult Filipinos, or 70 percent of the population, before the end of the year in a bid to reach herd immunity. Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. has expressed optimism the country will have a “better Christmas” if the vaccination efforts go as planned.

The country has so far received more than 8 million coronavirus vaccines, including Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, and Pfizer, and government expects the arrival of more supplies to arrive in the coming weeks.. The vaccines are a combination of supplies procured by the government as well as those donated by the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility.

As of May 23, 4,097,425 doses have already been administered mostly to health workers, seniors, and people with comorbidity. The figure showed 2.9 percent of the the country’s population received the first dose while 0.9 percent have been fully vaccinated based on a table presented by Roque.

As the government’s ramps up its vaccination drive, Roque has appealed anew to the people to grab the opportunity to get vaccinated.

He also discouraged the public from becoming choosy about the vaccine brand, saying the best vaccine is the one offered. The vaccines, which have so far been given approval for emergency use in the country, are considered safe and effective, Roque assured the public.

Since the government started the inoculation drive, there appears to be a growing preference for western brands like the Pfizer after many people were seen waiting in long lines to get the US-made jab, known to have a higher efficacy rate.

Aware about the bias towards the western brands, the President recently reminded the public not to be discriminate against vaccine brands, telling both rich and poor to take the brand offered to them.

Authorities have also been directed by the President to distribute the Pfizer vaccines donated by COVAX to the indigent population, particularly those living in areas with low vaccine uptake.