MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government’s pandemic task force is set to shift the focus of its vaccination campaign to mobile and house-to-house jabs amid a drop in daily vaccinations in the country, National Action Plan on COVID-19 (NTF) chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said.
In a Malacañang briefing aired late Monday, February 21, Galvez reported that the country has reached an “inflection point” where vaccinations have dropped from 1 million a day to less than 500,000.
“We will focus on mobile and house-to-house vaccination to seek and vaccinate the remaining eligible population,” Galvez said.
The vaccine czar also mentioned the “low turnout” national vaccination days. In the first two days of the latest “Bayanihan Bakunahan” from February 10 to 11, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 662,300 administered doses.
The DOH called this low, attributing the slow pace to the lack of health workers who have yet to report back to work from quarantine or isolation, and the distance of health centers to the communities. (READ: Galvez: Accessibility, other challenges hinder regional vaccinations)
“Kailangan na po tayong bumisita [sa] mga bara-barangay at magbahay-bahay para maiangat muli ang ating daily output,” said Galvez. (We need to visit the barangays and go house-to-house so we can once again increase our daily output.)
As of Monday, 62.5 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated, the NTF reported. This is 69% of the targeted 90 million, which the government aims to achieve by June 2022.
The COVID-19 vaccination rollout remains uneven throughout the country. According to the NTF, these 12 regions with high vaccine coverage must focus on providing boosters:
- Metro Manila
- Cordillera Administrative Region
- Ilocos Region
- Cagayan Valley
- Central Luzon
- Western Visayas
- Central Visayas
- Eastern Visayas
- Zamboanga Peninsula
- Northern Mindanao
- Davao Region
Meanwhile, the remaining five need to further improve their primary series coverage:
- Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
On Tuesday, February 15, the DOH deemed the Philippines “low-risk” again for COVID-19, weeks after the highly infectious Omicron variant caused an unprecedented surge of cases in the country.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in the Monday briefing that the Omicron spike was the country’s “largest and fastest increase, but an equally fast decline was observed.” – Rappler.com