Duterte says vaccination program 'doing well'; cites top jab donors US, China

The national government's mass vaccination program against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is doing well, President Duterte said in his latest "Talk to the People" public address on Friday night, Sept. 10.

Vials of COVID-19 vaccines. (Keith Bacongco/ File photo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

"Let me stress the point that we are doing well with our vaccination," Duterte said in the taped briefing, which was aired on Saturday morning, Sept 11.

The President gave due credit to the United States (US) and China, which are the top two donor countries as far as the life-saving COVID-19 vaccines are concerned.

"Were it not for the good ano ng Amerikano pati ang China (gesture of the Americans and China), who contributed the largest portion of our donation vaccines, mahirapan tayo (it would have been difficult for us)," he said.

The Philippines launched its mass inoculation program against the deadly disease on March, 2021 roughly a year after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the pandemic.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has said that as of Sept. 9, a total of 37,728,140 COVID jab have been administered all over the country. A total of 16,138,934 people are considered fully vaccinated, or have completed their dosage of the vaccine relative to the brand.

In Metro Manila, which is the center or COVID-19 cases in the country, there are now a total of 5,610,408 fully vaccinated individuals. A total of 13,922,708 vaccines have been administered in the region.

Aside from donations, the Philippines has also been able to access the foreigner-made jabs through procurement.

Despite these figures, Duterte admitted that the vaccination program is being affected by the worldwide shortage on vaccine supply.

"There is a shortfall. Hindi natin mabigyan lahat sabay-sabay kasi kulang...So nag-aagawan pa rin (We can't give shots to everyone all at once because of the shortage...So there is still competition for the vaccines)," he said.

Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who was also at the briefing, said that the Philippines would need to have vaccine deliveries of nine million doses a week until the end of the year if the country is to inoculate its entire population before 2021 is over.

"I just want to emphasize Mr. President that these has (sic) already been ordered and there is already money set aside for this. What the are waiting for is the delivery," Dominguez said.

"Unfortunately, for the first week of September, we only received three and a half million. So we have to catch up for the coming weeks," he noted.