'Better Christmas’ seen this year as major cities hit vax targets—Duterte

Published October 12, 2021, 7:53 AM

by Raymund Antonio

The Philippines is on track to having a “better Christmas” this year as the country ramps up its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination program, President Duterte said, noting that major cities are hitting their targets of inoculating at least 50 percent of their population.

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his “Talk to the People” public briefing on Oct. 11, 2021. (RTVM Screenshot)

“If we continue to ramp up the vaccination of our people, along with our consistent practice of mask—huwag pa rin ninyong tanggalin—hugas at iwas (not removing your masks—washing and distancing), and may the gradual resumption of our economic activities, then we can hope for a better and truly merry Christmas,” the President said during a late-night pre-recorded public address on Monday, Oct. 11.

“We are confident that the most, if not all, major cities in the country will be hit and even surpass this target before Christmas, sana (hopefully),” he added.

The challenge, however, is to “speed up” the country’s vaccination rollout especially in the provinces, key cities, and municipalities to achieve the target of inoculating at least 50 percent of the country’s population by the year’s end.

To this, Duterte omce again appealed to the public to get their COVID-19 jabs “regardless of the brand”.

“This is not just for your own protection but also as is your— part of your civic duty to protect others and also allow us to turn the page to get everyone back on track to normalcy,” he said.

The President reported that close to 50 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have already been administered with 23,186,969 of the population now fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, another 26,486,522 have received their first dose.

“I am also pleased to inform you that in Metro Manila, almost 77 percent or more than 7.5 [million] individuals are fully vaccinated,” he said.

The country saw its daily inoculation rate improve from 350,852 doses a day in the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3. to 469,092 average daily doses in the week of Oct. 4 to 10.

Duterte also welcomed the arrival of 1.4 million Moderna doses over the weekend as more Pfizer and Moderna doses are scheduled to be delivered “in the coming days”.

The vaccination of the general adult population in the country has already begun while the vaccination of minors 12 to 17 years old will begin this Friday, Oct. 15, at eight hospitals.

These are the National Children’s Hospital, the Philippine Heart Center, Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, Philippine Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City, Pasig City Children’s Hospital, Philippine General Hospital, Makati Medical Center, and St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig.

On Monday, the country logged its lowest number of new cases since Aug. 5 with 8,292 positive results. The positivity rate, despite being higher than the recommended less than 5 percent, has also dropped below 17 percent for the fourth straight day.