A total of 756 individuals received the first dose of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine during Day 1 of the country’s vaccination program, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Tuesday.
During the day's Laging Handa public briefing, Vergeire said the number was bigger than they expected.
“We had 756 individuals who got vaccinated yesterday, at mas mataas ito kaysa sa in-expect natin,” she said, adding most of those inoculated were health workers, the first on the government's priority list to receive the vaccine.
The government officially kicked off its vaccination program on Monday, a day after 600,000 doses of CoronaVac donated by the Chinese government arrived in the country. So far, it is the only brand legally available in the country.
Vergeire attributed the higher number of vaccine recipients to the confidence inspired by hospital chiefs who decided to get inoculated with Sinovac's vaccine, among them Dr. Gerardo Legaspi of the Philippine General Hospital.
Vergeire, however, said building vaccine confidence won't happen overnight.
"Ini-expect natin na tataas pa ang numerong ito, pero it could take mga one week bago natin makita ang big picture, ang kabuuan bago natin masabi na iyong kumpiyansa [sa bakuna] ay tumataas,” she said.
A recent nationwide survey by OCTA Research group showed that majority of adult Filipinos do not want to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The second dose of Sinovac, Vergeire said, will be given 28 days after the first dose.
Vergeire then stressed that Sinovac has been administered to health workers because it is beneficial to health workers, not just because it is the only COVID-19 vaccine brand available.
"Binigay po ito ng gobyerno not because para lang may bakuna. Nagpakita rin po ang Sinovac ng 78% efficacy rate against moderate COVID-19 symptoms at 100% efficacy rate against severe COVID-19 symptoms," she said.
"Ang major goal po talaga natin ay mabawasan ang mga nao-ospital, mabawasan iyong magkakaroon ng severe infection, mabawasan iyong mga namamatay dahil sa COVID-19 among our health workers and the vulnerable sector,” Vergeire added. —KBK, GMA News