Philippines begins COVID-19 vaccination of adult general population

Seven months after the Philippines began its COVID-19 vaccination drive among health workers, the government has started inoculating the rest of the general population against the deadly virus.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire made the announcement in a press briefing on Monday, October 11.

"Amin lamang pong i-a-anunsyo ang pagsisimula ng COVID-19 vaccination sa general adult population," she said. (We're announcing the start of COVID-19 vaccination for the general adult population.)

Vergeire added, "Ayon po sa ating vaccine cluster, headed by our vaccine czar Secretary Charlie Galvez, mayroon na po tayong sapat na supply ng bakuna kontra COVID-19."

(According to our vaccine cluster, headed by our vaccine czar Carlito "Charlie" Galvez Jr, we have enough supply of the vaccines against COVID-19.)

The health spokesperson shared on Monday the September 30 Department of Health (DOH) circular containing the operational guidelines of the vaccination of the adult general population.

Under the guidelines signed by Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, said the vaccination of the general population was supposed to have started on October 7.

"The COVID-19 vaccination for the rest of the adult population shall commence simultaneously nationwide on October 7, 2021," the DOH circular read.

Cabotaje is the chairperson of the country's National Vaccination Operations Center.

No more groups B and C

With the start of the vaccination of the adult general population, the government revised its prioritization framework, compressing the groups into two.

  • Priority Group A
    • A1: Workers in essential health services
    • Expanded A1: OFWs leaving the country in the next fours months, household members of A1, and additional A1
    • A2: Senior citizens
    • A3: Individuals with comorbidities
    • Expanded A3: Pregnant women
    • Pediatric A3: 12 to 17 years old with comorbidities
    • A4: Workers in essential services
    • A5: Poor population
  • Rest of adult population or ROAP (formerly categorized as priority group B and C)

According to the DOH circular, ROAP is the "eligible adult population (18 years old and above) who are not categorized as part of Priority Group A and/or were formerly categorized as Priority Groups B and C."

COVAX vaccines still for priority groups

The DOH circular also said that vaccines from the COVAX facility will still be used only for priority groups to "ensure equitable access to vaccines especially among the most vulnerable and poorest populations."'

COVAX, formally known as the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, is a global collaboration for speeding up the development, manufacture, and equitable distribution of new vaccines. The Phlippines is one of the developing countries benefitting from COVAX.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 vaccines procured by the national government, local government units, and the private sector will be used for priority group A and ROAP.

Keep track of the Philippines' vaccination in the trackers below.

On Friday, October 15, the Philippines will begin the vaccination of minors aged 12 to 17 with comorbidities in a pilot run approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.

As of October 10, around 23.1 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.

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