MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Francisco Duque on Monday, December 13, recommended the postponement of the three-day national COVID-19 vaccination drive in some areas due to the threat of a weather disturbance the country has been monitoring.
Duque made the recommendation during President Rodrigo Duterte’s meeting with some cabinet members on Monday.
“Ito pong dadaanan ng bagyo batay po sa mga pinakahuling ulat mula sa PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration) ay posible po Northern Mindanao, Central and Eastern Visayas, at ang Southern Tagalog region ay hindi muna natin itutuloy ang bakunahan dahil kailangan natin mailayo sa peligro ang ating mga kababayan dahil sa bagyong Odette,” Duque said.
(The path of the typhoon based on the latest report from PAGASA will cross Northern Mindanao, Central and Eastern Visayas, and Southern Tagalog. We will not push through with the vaccination in these areas because we want to keep our fellowmen safe from typhoon Odette.)
Instead of December 15 to 17, Duque recommended the national vaccine drive be moved to December 20 to 22 in areas that would likely be hit by the typhoon.
PAGASA expects the tropical storm with the international name Rai to strengthen further into a severe tropical storm, and subsequently into a typhoon by Wednesday, December 15. Rai is seen to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) as a severe tropical storm on Tuesday evening, December 14. It will be given the local name Odette once inside PAR.
The health chief said that areas in Northern and Central Luzon, and Calabarzon can continue with the vaccination drive as scheduled.
For the second leg of the vaccination drive, the government is aiming to vaccinate up to 7 million Filipinos. The country fell short in its first leg target of 9 million, delivering only over 8 million doses.
Meanwhile, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said that the country has secured enough supplies of vaccines until the last day of the President in office.
“Nakumpleto na po ang ating vaccine up to the middle the year of 2022. Ibig sabihin ang procurement and other donations. ‘Yung incoming president po wala na pong problema sa vaccines,” he said.
(We already completed the stockpile of our vaccines up to the middle of 2022. That comprises procurement and donations. The incoming president will not have problem on vaccine supply.)
Galvez also said that vaccination for minors reached “significant headway” as more than 7 million have received single shot while 2.1 million have already been fully vaccinated. – Rappler.com