Despite initial misgivings about the China-made Sinovac, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said more people have expressed intention to be vaccinated after seeing doctors get the jab.
“Nakikita natin sa social na there are people who are excited,” Galvez said on Monday night's televised Cabinet briefing presided by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The vaccine czar added he also received text messages seeking doses of the vaccine.
"Nakita namin ngayon nung nagpabakuna tayo ng prominent doctors, tumaas po 'yung level ng uptake and demand," he said.
University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi on Monday became the Philippines' first official recipient of a vaccine against COVID-19.
Legaspi received a shot of CoronaVac, manufactured by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, during a symbolic vaccination ceremony at the UP-PGH grounds attended by top government officials.
Galvez said “mini rollout” of the vaccination program will take place on Tuesday in several hospitals in Pasig, Pasay, Taguig, Quezon City and Manila.
What’s next in the vaccine rollout?
Galvez said a total of 161 million COVID-19 vaccine doses are expected to arrive in the country this year.
Specifically, he said 20 million doses are expected in the second quarter, 68 million doses in the third quarter, and 69 million doses in the fourth quarter.
“Ang ating objective po sa first quarter is matapos po ang lahat ng health workers,” Galvez said.
Further, Galvez said Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccines will arrive in Cebu on March 3 and Davao on March 4.
He added that the Sinovac shot was Halal certified.
“Nakikita po nating ‘yong Sinovac isa pong vaccine na Halal so sa mga muslim po natin sa BARMM doon po natin ibibigay karamihan sa kanila kasi ‘yan po ang sinabi po ng Indonesia na ito po ‘yong Halal certified na vaccine,” Galvez said.
Earlier, the Philippines was able to start its COVID-19 vaccination program after receiving 600,000 doses of CoronaVac from China. —LDF/NB, GMA News