NTF lowers target vax output for ‘National Vaccination Days’: Here’s why

Published November 27, 2021, 1:26 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

Due to shortage in ancillary supplies like syringes, the National Task Force (NTF) Against Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) adjusted the government’s target vaccination output in the upcoming “National Vaccination Days” from 15 million to only nine million.

A minor gets vaccinated against COVID-19 in Muntinlupa City. (File photo / Muntinlupa PIO)

The NTF and the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) said they have agreed to decrease the daily target of five million administered jabs to three million doses in the three-day “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” immunization drive from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1,

“From the original plan of administering 15 million COVID-19 doses for the three-day activity, we have decided to administer nine million jabs. Hence, the daily national throughput target will be three million doses,” the NTF and NVOC said in a joint statement released Saturday, Nov. 27.

The statement was signed by Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr., NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar; and Sec. Vince Dizon, Presidential Adviser for COVID-19 Response and NTF Deputy Chief Implementer.

Still, the target is triple the current output of one million administered jabs daily.

Accordingly, the lowered target was due to the shortage in ancillary supplies that the country is currently facing.

It turns out that the scheduled shipment of the procured supplies made through the United Nations Children’s Foundation (UNICEF), particularly the 0.3 milliliter (ml) syringe used for the Pfizer vaccine, was delayed due to global shortage.

To compensate for the lowered target, the NTF will set another massive vaccination drive from Dec. 15 to 17 “just in time before the Christmas gatherings and New Year celebrations.”

The vaccination drive from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 will primarily focus on increasing the country’s coverage of the first dose to 70 percent and increase the booster jabs while the Dec. 15 to 17 activities will focus on administering the second dose and boosters, the NTF and NVOC explained.

As of Friday, a total of 45,056,508 Filipinos have already received their first dose or 58.41 percent of the 77 million eligible population. Meanwhile, 35,391,519 individuals have been fully vaccinated or 45.88 percent of the eligible population.

The “eligible population” refers to 70 percent of the country’s 110 million total population that are targeted to be vaccinated by year-end to achieve herd immunity, and the National Vaccination Days are supposed to help achieve this goal.

The massive immunization drive will entail the inoculation of the unvaccinated general population (first and second dose), pediatric sector (12 to 17 years old), and booster shots for the healthcare workers (A1), senior citizens (A2), and individuals with co-morbidities (A3).

It will be held across 16 regions outside the National Capital Region (NCR) to increase their jab output.