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Duterte hopes for another ‘successful’ national vax drive



President Rodrigo Duterte is hoping that the national vaccination run set in mid-December will be as “successful” as the previous massive inoculation drive amid fears of the newly-discovered Covid-19 Omicron variant.

In his public address aired Monday night, the President expressed optimism that more Filipinos will get Covid-19 jabs during the vaccination drive slated on 15 to 17 December.

“We will have a second round of ‘Bayanihan, Bakunahan.’ I hope that we will have the same success [as the first round],” he said.

The government held its first three-day inoculation drive from 29 November to 1 December, when 10.2 million vaccine doses have been administered. The figure exceeded the government’s target of distributing nine million doses in just three days.

Duterte described the vaccination turnout as a “huge achievement” in the state’s pandemic response, as he thanked officials, vaccinators, and the public for cooperating with the initiative.

The President, meanwhile, attributed the decreasing number of Covid-19 cases to the ongoing vaccination efforts, adding that he was very “happy” about it.

Duterte tagged the development as a “miracle” as he noted that other countries are grappling with a fresh wave of infections following the discovery of the Omicron variant.

“I am very happy na bumababa na talaga,” he said. “That’s a miracle because other countries are still reeling from the effect — parang nagkaroon sila ng problema sa Omicron.”

The Philippine President also admitted that he has been praying for continuous improvement in the country’s Covid-19 situation as the Yuletide nears.

“I’ve always invoked the intervention of God to pull us out of this misery… Tayo, we are not hoping for the best, but we pray to God that it (Omicron variant) will not come to our shores,” he said.

“But if ever na magdating, I hope we can cope with [it] as much as we did with Covid-19,” Duterte added.

Citing data from the health department, the Chief Executive said the country has posted a two-percent positivity rate, which means that only two people yield positive Covid-19 results for every 100 individuals who are undergoing swab tests. The figure is within the World Health Organization’s five-percent benchmark.

Health authorities have been reporting hundreds of cases in the past few days, down from tens of thousands in September.

At present, the entire Philippines has also been classified as “minimal risk” for Covid-19 by the local health department.

All regions in the country are also under “minimal risk” classification, except for Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera Administrative Region, and Zamboanga Peninsula. The four regions are tagged as “low risk” for coronavirus.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Philippines has so far recorded over 2.83 million infections. Of the total, only 0.5 percent or 13,000 were active cases.