Only 7% of ‘PinasLakas’ booster shot target achieved so far—DOH

Published August 19, 2022, 6:55 PM

by Analou de Vera

Coronavirus vaccines have been prepared for distribution at a vaccination site in Manila on May 18, 2021. (Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

The Department of Health (DOH) said it is still far from reaching its target of administering 23 million Covid-19 vaccine booster shots under the “PinasLakas” campaign.

DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said that at present, only 1,729,547 people have been given booster shots under the said vaccination drive.

“This is only around seven percent of our 23 million target by October 8,” said Vergeire in a press briefing on Friday, Aug. 8.

“Unfortunately, malayo pa po ang ating accomplishments from our target (our accomplishments are still far from our target),” she added.

To note, the PinasLakas campaign was launched last month which was aimed at providing 23 million booster shots during the first 100 days of the Marcos administration.

Vergeire said that it is important to increase the booster shot uptake in order to prevent an increase in the hospitalization rate.

“Base po sa pag-aaral maari pong tumaas ang mga admissions natin sa ospital by September or October kung hindi po tataas ang ating uptake for first booster shots (Based on a study, our hospital admissions may rise by September or October if our uptake for first booster shots does not increase),” she noted.

The DOH official said that they are currently coordinating with the private sector and local government units to further encourage eligible individuals to get boosted.

“Meron na po tayong 19,000 plus na vaccination sites (We now have 19,000 plus vaccination sites),” she said.

“Kami po ay nananawagan na sana po makumbinsi namin kayo na na ang mga bakuna na aming binibigay ay ligtas, epektibo, nakakatulong na proteksyunan ang inyong sarili, pamilya, at kominidad (We are reiterating that the vaccines we provide are safe, effective, and can help protect yourself, your family, and the community),” she added.

Vaccine replacement

Vergeire said that they already asked the vaccine-sharing platform Covax Facility to initially replace at least 10.5 million vaccine doses that have expired.

“For now, based on our planning and estimation, ang atin pong hiningi palang sa Covax to replace would be 10.5 million doses (we already asked Covax to replace 10.5 million doses),” she said.

The delivery of these vaccines will start by December, said Vergeire.

“This will be delivered kasama sa ating request yan (along with our request, [which is]), by month. Mag-uumpisa po ng December and then January and then February, para po yung mga pagdeliver na yan, eksakto po yan sa pangangailangan ng ating bansa, sa ating populasyon (It will start by December and then January and then February, these deliveries are already exact for the supply needs of our country, our population) for those months that I’ve mentioned starting 2023,”she said.

During a Senate hearing last Aug. 15, Vergeire said at least 20.6 million Covid-19 vaccines have either expired or remain unused.

“Hindi naman po din natin sinasabi na after nilang ma-replace yung amount na atin pong unang hiningi ay hindi na tayo hihingi pa ng kasunod na pag-replace,” she added.