The National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 is looking to push for an annual vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), its chief said on Wednesday.
“Tinitingnan po kasi natin ‘yung phenomenon sa ibang bansa. Every Monday, meron po tayong tinatawag nating global update from the custom consultative group at nakikita po natin na there is a need na iyong vaccination cycle is [maging] annual ano na po iyan–hindi po pwede na one time big time ‘yung ating vaccination eh (We are looking at the different phenomenon in other countries. Every Monday we are collecting global updates from the custom consultative group and we see that there’s a need to hold an annual vaccination cycle — we can’t have this vaccination as a one time, big time program),” said vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., in an interview on the sidelines of the ceremonial vaccination of tourism workers in Taytay, Rizal.
Galvez noted that the NTF is studying the trends in the current global vaccine supply.
The NTF has released its recalibrated national vaccination program for the remaining months of 2021 and until next year, which includes crafting a vaccine security roadmap amid the presence of Covid-19 variants and reformulated booster shots.
“Considering na more or less 30 percent pa lang tayo, hindi pa namin masyado pinag-uusapan ang booster, but in our planning, kasama ‘yan sa six to eight-month vaccination cycle (Considering that we only have more or less 30 percent in the vaccination program, we are yet to discuss booster shots, but in our planning, it is part of our six to eight-month vaccination cycle),” he said.
Galvez said the government has already set aside vaccine doses for healthcare workers, saying they are ready once the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health (DOH) approved the provision of booster shots to them.
He noted that those healthcare workers who initially received the vaccine doses in March might be the first to receive booster shots “either by November or maybe February.”
Citing the vaccination program in other countries, Galvez said there is a need to push for the giving booster shots in the country.
“We see that, by programming, by first quarter [of 2022] we can start the third dosing of our healthcare workers,” he said.
The administration of booster shots is still subject to the approval of the DOH, he added.
From the original 70 percent target, the government is now eyeing to complete the vaccination of up to 80 percent of the country’s 110 million population.
To date, the Philippines has administered a total of 47,778,751 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, with 22,402,105 Filipinos now fully vaccinated while some 25,376,646 are waiting for their second dose. (PNA)