DAVAO CITY (MindaNews) – Filipinos can expect a “better Christmas” this year with the plan of the Philippine government to procure at least 150 million doses of anti- COVID-19 vaccines this year for the country to achieve “herd immunity,” Cabinet secretary Karlo Nograles said.
Nograles made the assurance in his pre-recorded message during Friday’s webinar on “Vaccine Politics: The Misleading Info and Half Truths” organized by the University of Southeastern Philippines in Davao City.
He said the vaccines will be delivered to the country in tranches in the months to come.
As of Friday, the National Task Force Against COVID-19 reported that a total of 14,205,870 vaccine doses have already arrived in the country, and were being administered among the priority sectors.
Nograles said around seven million doses have already been administered to individuals belonging to A1 or health workers, A2 or senior citizens, A3 or persons with comorbidities, and A4 or essential Workers. Of this figure, five million people have received their first dose and two million have been fully vaccinated.
In Davao Region, the Department of Health regional office reported that a total of 688,350 vaccines have so far been received, including the latest delivery of 210,600 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and 44,800 additional doses of CoronaVac of Sinovac.
Nograles urged the people to get vaccinated as they risk either getting the virus or infecting others.
“We put at risk the situation in our localities, including lack of hospital beds, ICUs (intensive care units) filled to the brim, and possible surges that may occur if many of our kababayans are unvaccinated,” he said.
He also encouraged individuals, who have received the first dose, to get the second dose to get themselves protected from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
He said people should get the vaccines regardless of the brand.
“The best vaccine is the one that is available. Vaccines approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) are safe and effective. No one is safe until everyone is safe. That’s why, get vaccinated immediately when it’s your turn,” he said.
He said that the “paramount goal” of the government is to “achieve mass immunization for population protection,” which means vaccinating at least 70 percent of the country’s total population.
He explained that the government maintains a portfolio of vaccines, including brand names and manufacturers of those that are still being developed.
“From this portfolio, the government has identified the companies it will negotiate with. All our decisions are based on the recommendations of our vaccines and health experts,” he added.
Nograles assured that the vaccines that are currently available in the country and will be purchased by the government passed a stringent evaluation and selection process of the Food and Drugs Administration. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)
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