MANILA, Philippines – The number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the Philippines has reached 50 million, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.
Citing data from the National Vaccination Operation Center (NVOC), the NTF said that a total of 50,066,590 doses have already been administered as of October 11.
Of this figure, a total of 23,360,489 individuals have been fully vaccinated or 30.28% of the country’s target population.
“This milestone comes at a time when our country’s vaccine supply is continuously arriving in bulk, and the entire government is focused on ramping up the vaccination program to ensure we inoculate as many people as possible in a faster and more efficient manner,” NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. said.
“We welcome this development. It will serve as an inspiration to all of us, as we continue to expand the vaccine rollout to the general population and start the inoculation of our youth by Friday,” he added.
Galvez said that more than half a million vaccine doses have been administered to priority groups that include teachers, as well as government and private sector workers.
He disclosed that the government’s current priority groups will be re-categorized and integrated into the general population group.
“With the influx of our vaccine supply, it is also right to simplify our priority sectors to ensure we inoculate all the unvaccinated Filipinos,” Galvez said.
“Our challenge right now is generating greater demand among our people. And the best way to do this is to vaccinate all Filipinos who are willing to get the jab,” he added.
Galvez said the expansion of the vaccine rollout to the general population is part of the country’s recalibrated vaccination plan.
While the government is pushing for an expanded coverage of its vaccine rollout, the vaccine czar stressed that priority will still be given to senior citizens and those who are highly vulnerable to the disease.
On October 15, the Philippines will begin the inoculation of 12 to 17 year-olds with comorbidities in eight selected hospitals in Metro Manila.
According to Galvez, the country now has enough vaccine supplies to inoculate roughly 1.2 million adolescents with comorbidities, of which around 144,123 are from the National Capital Region.
“The bulk of our deliveries this fourth quarter, as you have seen in our recent arrivals, are from Pfizer and Moderna. These are the same vaccines that will be used to inoculate our younger population. We already have the supply and we are ready for the rollout,” he said.
The Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration has granted Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines with Emergency Use Authorization for the use of those within the 12 to 17 year-old age group.