Provinces to get bulk of fresh delivery of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines: Galvez
MANILA — The bulk of COVID-19 vaccines from Chinese manufacturer Sinovac set to arrive in the Philippines Tuesday will go to the provinces, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez said.
Among the provinces that will receive huge allocations of the total 3 million Sinovac doses are those in the Calabarzon region, which have been experiencing a rise in new COVID-19 cases.
“Ibibigay natin ito sa mga probinsiya, lalo na sa Cavite, Laguna,” he said.
(We will give these vaccines to the provinces, especially to Cavite, Laguna.)
“Ito ‘yong ipinangako natin na ishi-shift na natin ang focus natin sa mga LGU (local government unit) sa probinsiya,” he added.
(This is part of our promise to shift focus on LGUs in the provinces.)
Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez, who heads the Metro Manila Council, earlier said the National Capital Region had fully vaccinated 45 percent of its target population while 80 percent have received their first dose.
Galvez also reiterated that vaccines are effective in preventing critical COVID-19 cases, citing data from the Philippine General Hospital.
“Sa lahat ng with complete vaccination, walang critically intubated,” he said.
(Among those who have been completely vaccinated, no one has been critically intubated.)
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Rontgene Solante, meanwhile, said there is a need to give booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines to vulnerable individuals who have been fully vaccinated with Sinovac jabs.
“Data regarding waning protection against variants of concern with Sinovac 6 to 8 months after the 2nd dose is evolving. Thus, a booster dose is recommended,” Solante said in a text message.
“We can’t ignore the data regarding Sinovac waning immunity… This is vital among [health care workers] and those who are elderly and immunocompromised,” he added.
The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) also hoped that frontliners would be prioritized once the World Health Organization and the Department of Health allow booster shots.
The government has so far administered more than 33 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, of which 19.3 million are partially immunized.
Over 13.7 million, meanwhile, have been fully vaccinated against the respiratory disease.
The government expects 25 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses to arrive in the Philippines this September and 29.5 million more in October.