About 1.7 million health workers are expected to be vaccinated by April, according to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) National Task Force chair Carlito Galvez Jr.
To date, more than 240,000 or 14 percent of the 1.7 million health workers have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in the Philippines.
That is why Galvez, who is the vaccine czar, predicts that it will take April to give the first dose of the vaccine to all health workers. Galvez first mentioned that this March, the vaccination of health workers will end.
“Talagang medyo binabagalan natin ng kaunti dahil ‘yung napag-usapan po natin na mayroon adverse effects. Sa ngayon mayroon tayong accommodated na more or less 5,000 adverse effects, pero mga normal lang po, mga lagnat, parang lalagnatin,” said Galvez.
Only 1,125,600 COVID-19 vaccine doses are currently in the country and have been delivered to implementing sites.
But there are still private hospitals that do not receive the allocation, according to the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines.
“Parang miscommunication with the DOH and these hospitals. Supposedly the hospitals were to submit requirements. Noong nag-inquire kami sa region, sabi dito n’yo dapat ipinapadala, hindi sa national office. So we have to again resend,” said PHAPI President Dr. Jose Rene De Grano.
Vaccination of health workers can be completed by April
With the current supply of vaccines in the country, only more than 500,000 health workers will be vaccinated. All Sinovac and Astrazeneca vaccines are currently being given to health workers.
Galvez and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III have also recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte to use all the initial AstraZeneca vaccine doses in the country.
“‘Yun ang recommendation ng WHO para magkaroon po ng larger population ng health workers na puwede maprotektahan. Kasi they assured us that there will be another tranche of AstraZeneca coming this April. May pa ang second dose nila,” said Galvez.
About 1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines are expected to arrive in April.
It is also possible that 4 million more doses of the vaccine will arrive, half of which will be purchased at Sinovac, and Sputnik V will be ordered from Gamaleya once it has emergency use authorization (EUA).
On May, 8 million doses of the vaccine are expected, including 2.6 million from AstraZeneca, and 200,000 from Moderna.