MANILA, Philippines — The National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 on Tuesday urged local government units (LGU) not to use the Sinovac vaccines allotted for the second dose as first shots as it noted some “disparity” in the report on the country’s vaccination program against coronavirus disease.
NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. pointed out that of the total 11,708,029 shots administered nationwide, only 2,868,905 were given as the second dose while 8,839,124 were given as the first dose.
“We are seeing a disparity in our national vaccination report wherein out of the 11 million jabs administered, only 2.8 million were fully vaccinated. This should be addressed by our implementing units,” he said.
In an advisory issued on July 4, Galvez notified LGUs to prioritize the administration of the second dose within the next two weeks in order to address delays in deliveries of Sputnik V component II vaccines and the weekly delivery of Sinovac vaccines.
He also directed all implementing units, particularly in the National Capital Region (NCR) plus 8 — Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Rizal — to focus on completely vaccinating those who have received the first shot of Sinovac vaccines until the supply for the vaccine brand will become stable.
Likewise, LGUs must immediately utilize the intended first doses of other vaccine brands such as Moderna, Pfizer, and Sputnik V.
The NTF said that, so far, the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) has deployed a total of 14,841,740 doses nationwide out of the 17,455,470 doses that have arrived in the country, while other doses are now being deployed from the national warehouses to the different vaccination areas.
The NVOC has likewise noted that more than 5.7 million doses deployed to LGUs still have to be administered to their constituents which are mostly intended for the second dose.
“We have to look into this matter seriously and act on it fast because based on studies, the full protection against the new variants of COVID-19, particularly the Delta variant, can only be assured when an individual is fully vaccinated with two doses,” Galvez said.
The vaccine czar also emphasized that though some individuals may not show up for their scheduled second dose due to illness and other medical conditions, they are still eligible to get their second shot on a later date.
However, he stressed the need for them to receive the second dose based on their given schedule.
“We also call on every Filipino, especially those who have received their first dose to come back to your respective vaccination sites for your second dose as indicated in your vaccination cards,” he said.
“Remember that this is not just for your safety and protection but for the protection of your families, co-workers, and communities. Marami pong buhay ang nakasalalay sa bawat isa sa atin,” he added.