The government may not be able to achieve its target of fully vaccinating 77 million Filipinos against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by the end of 2021, an official leading the efforts admitted Monday, Oct. 4.
However, Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, said half or 50 percent of the target may be achieved if the daily vaccination output increases to 600,000 to 800,000 doses.
At present, the daily vaccination rate ranges from 350,000 to 400,000 doses.
“Kapag tumaas ang vaccination, ang target ay magkaroon ng 600,000 to 800,000 per day so baka maabot natin ang 50 percent (If our vaccination rate increases, the target would be 600,000 to 800,000 per day and we might hit 50 percent),” Galvez said at a vaccination event in Angeles, Pampanga.
Even better if the government will increase the daily vaccination target to one million doses or more as Galvez noted that the achievable percentage will also rise to around 60 to 70 percent.
But “realistically,” Galvez said: “Based sa computations namin, more or less ang achievable is ‘yong 50 percent (Based on our computations, more or less what’s achievable is 50 percent).”
Due to the slippages in the delivery of vaccines in recent months, many became skeptical if the government will hit its target of fully vaccinating 77 million Filipinos by year end to achieve herd immunity.
But the speculations were cleared as the vaccine czar offered a glimpse of the scenario in the country’s national COVID-19 vaccination program.
As of Sunday, the country received 77.4 million doses and around 46.3 million doses were administered nationwide. There were 24.5 million Filipinos who received their first dose and 21.8 million who have been fully vaccinated.
To hit half of the original target, Galvez said the vaccination program is now being recalibrated to ramp up the vaccination in high-risk areas outside Metro Manila and vaccinate at least 50 percent of their eligible population.
These areas include Southern and Central Luzon, and parts of Visayas and Mindanao since Metro Manila already inoculated more than 50 percent of its adult population.
“Right now, we are going to different regions to expand the capacities of local government units in their vaccination program,” he said.