Vaccine czar Sec Carlito Galvez Jr. recommended that vaccination of other essential workers may be started even before the injection of health care workers is completed.
He said this is what was done in the US, Indonesia, and Israel so they were able to speed up the vaccination of their population. He said the National Task Force conveyed the said recommendation to the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group or NITAG.
“We are balancing the safety of our health care workers and at the same time, we are trying to provide ma-sustain ang economy. Kasi ang nakita po natin iyong private sector at national government ay sabay-sabay po tayo mag-inoculate … dapat po talaga simultaneous ginagawa,” he said on Monday.
About 370,000 health workers were vaccinated against COVID-19, which is equivalent to 21.71% of the total number of health care workers targeted to be vaccinated.
Three vaccine deliveries are expected before the end of March, from two separate arrivals of Sinovac vaccines and the 2nd batch of AstraZeneca from the COVAX facility.
“This coming March, Wednesday, 7 [p.m.] po dadating na po iyong ating donations from Sinovac, iyong 400,000, and then according to WHO, iyong ating supply nasa Europe na po iyong 979,200. Naghihintay nalang tayo ng kanyang deployment going to the Philippines,” said Galvez.
Galvez recommends starting vaccination in other sectors
In the 2nd quarter of the year, about 11.5 million doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in the Philippines, including Sputnik V from the Gamaleya Institute, after it was granted emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration.
Galvez said negotiations for the Gamaleya Institute’s Sputnik V vaccines will also begin on Tuesday.
Vaccines from Moderna and Novavax are also likely to arrive in the 2nd quarter, while the volume of the country’s vaccine orders is expected in the 3rd and 4th quarters of the year.
Guido David of OCTA Research group expert said the national government should prioritize vaccinating residents in Metro Manila to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
David said the disease could not spread if around 7 or 8 million Metro Manila residents, as well as those residing in nearby regions like Calabarzon and Central Luzon, have already been vaccinated against COVID-19.