DOH hopeful to hit Covid-19 vax target by June

Published May 17, 2022, 12:44 PM

by Analou de Vera


The Department of Health (DOH) remains hopeful that it will be able to meet its target of fully vaccinating 77 million Filipinos against Covid-19 by the end of June.

“We will do our best to reach the 77 million fully vaxxed by June 30,” said DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje during a public briefing on Tuesday, May 17.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III recently had a meeting with DOH regional directors, urging them to ramp up the vaccination efforts, said Cabotaje.

“Ngayon meron tayong 68.7 million fully vaccinated. So kulang pa iyan ng mga 8.3 million (Currently, we have 68.7 million fully vaccinated. So, we need to vaccinate 8.3 million),” said Cabotaje.

The DOH is also focusing its efforts to increase the vaccination coverage in Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Central Visayas, Bicol, and Soccsksargen, said Cabotaje.

First booster shot

Out of the fully vaccinated individuals, 56.9 million fully vaccinated adults were already eligible to get their first booster shot. However, only 13.6 million adults received their booster doses.

“So, that will leave us about 43.3 million na pwede pang bakunahan ng first booster nila (who are eligible for first booster),” said Cabotaje.

Cabotaje said that some people do not see the “urgency” to get a booster shot yet.

“While they recognize the importance of vaccination, even the booster, they do not feel the urgency kasi wala na tayong mga kaso, hindi nagsu-surge ang mga cases (because we no longer have a surge in cases),” she said.

“Nagkaroon ng Delta at Omicron surge, akala nila tama na ang natural immunity added to their artificial immunity—yung mga naka primary dose na (Delta and Omicron surge happened and they thought that natural immunity is already enough as an added [protection] to their artificial immunity—individuals who only received the primary doses),” she added.

Meanwhile, a total of 30,912 immunocompromised individuals already received their second booster shot.

To recall, people 18-years-old and above are allowed to receive a booster shot. So far, only immunocompromised individuals are eligible to receive a second booster shot.

Expiring vaccines

The Health official also noted that around two million Moderna vaccine doses are set to expire this month. Cabotaje assured that they will utilize these vaccines before their expiration dates.

“For May, we have about almost two million Moderna vaccines that are expiring kaya kailangan ibakuna iyan sa mga first booster. Tapos may mga konting AstraZeneca, a few 100,000 (we have about two million Moderna vaccines that are expiring so we need to use them in administering first boosters. Then there are about 100,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses nearing expiry),” she said.

Meanwhile, the shelf life of Pfizer vaccines, which were about to expire in July and August, was already extended for another three months, said Cabotaje.