MANILA, Philippines – National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. has recommended to the government to prioritize the inoculation in areas with high cases of COVID-19 to fend off further surges and enable the economy to recover.
In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte during the public briefing on Monday night, Galvez said the current constriction in global vaccine supply would affect the deliveries and the government’s inoculation rollout.
“Mr. President, considering magkaroon tayo ng tinatawag na falloff or shortfall sa ating mga supply, we are recommending na magkaroon tayo ng prioritization po,” Galvez said.
“So meaning, tingnan po natin ‘yong mga areas na mayroon pong tinatawag na economic at saka social importance. At saka magkakaroon tayo ng malaking problema pagka hindi natin po naagapan lalo po ang NCR (National Capital Region),” he added.
Galvez proposed the following areas to be prioritized in the COVID-19 inoculation:
- National Capital Region
- Central Luzon
- Baguio City
- Cordillera Administrative Region
- Cagayan Valley
- Cebu City
- Bacolod City
- Iloilo City
- Western Visayas
- Central Visayas
- Eastern Visayas
- Davao City
- Cagayan de Oro City
- Zamboanga City
- General Santos City
- Iligan City
- Zamboanga Peninsula
- Northern Mindanao
- Davao Region
Galvez said the government should also recalibrate its mass vaccination program and concentrate on immunizing around 83 million of the country’s population instead of 110 million.
If the government could achieve herd immunity in badly hit areas, Galvez said it would give the country better chances for quick economic recovery and prevent possible surges in traditional and very vulnerable areas.
“So ganoon po ang gagawin po nating strategy kasi kung magkakaroon tayo ng shortfall doon po sa constriction ng global supply, we will target more or less mga 50 to 60 (percent) of population instead of 70 to 80 to 90 para targeted ang ano po natin,” he said.
The vaccine czar also gave an update on recent vaccine procurements and rollout, telling the President that, so far, there is a total 4,040,600 vaccine doses delivered to the Philippines.
He likewise reported that China’s Sinovac will upscale its vaccine supply for the country, vowing to bring in 1.5 million doses instead of just 500,000 doses for its May 7 delivery.
The government is also negotiating with Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute for a monthly delivery of two million doses.
Talks are also ongoing with the COVAX facility and the World Health Organization for the delivery of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines totaling 2.3 million doses.
“And nakikita po natin na papataas din po ‘yong ating mga deliveries. Starting po ng June, magkakaroon na po tayo ng more or less 10.3 million doses dahil po darating na rin po ang Moderna at saka po ‘yong AstraZeneca,” he said.
“So apat na po ang magde-deliver this coming June. And ganoon din po sa third quarter, darating na rin po ‘yong ibang mga deliveries,” he added.