The Philippines is eyeing to fully vaccinate at least seven million individuals in the second round of the three-day nationwide simultaneous vaccination drive against Covid-19, the Department of Health (DoH) said Tuesday.
“We are aiming to vaccinate seven Filipinos to achieve the goal of fully inoculating 54 million Filipinos by the end of the year,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said at the Laging Handa briefing.
Duque explained the government had initially focused on giving the first dose to at least 54 million individuals hence, the second round of the national vaccination drive set on 15 to 17 December will now focus on administering second doses.
He admitted that the vaccination rate in the provinces slowed down after the vaccination drive.
“Actually, the vaccination rate is still high but it slightly decreased if you compare it to the 2.7 million jabs on the first day of the three-day vaccination drive,” he said.
As of 7 December, data from the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) showed that a total of 53,492,838 individuals have already received at least one dose of Covid-19, close to the 54-million target set by the government.
However, there are only 38,699,023 fully vaccinated individuals in the country, still far from the supposed target.
The government conducted the first round of the vaccination drive from 29 November to 1 December but was extended due to failure to achieve the supposed target.
The drive was extended until 3 December and was able to vaccinate 9.9 million Filipinos.
The initiative, which previously targeted to inoculate at least 15 million Filipinos but later reduced to nine million is equivalent to a national daily throughput of three million jabs.
The government decided to reduce the target for the three-day simultaneous vaccination drive due to delayed shipment of its procured syringes from UNICEF.
The DoH previously admitted that there has been a delay in the delivery of new supplies of syringes for vaccines specifically for mRNA Covid-19 vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
Earlier this week, NVOC chairperson Myrna Cabotaje said 44 million syringes from the United Nations Children’s Fund will be arriving in tranches starting on 2 December.