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Philippines rolls out three-day vax drive vs. COVID-19

The Philippines on Monday, November 29, rolled out its massive three-day vaccination drive aimed at protecting millions more Filipinos against COVID-19.

"Handang-handa na tayo at talagang excited na ang ating mga LGUs (local government units) at volunteers," said vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. in an interview on Unang Balita.

For this undertaking, around 8,000 vaccination sites have been activated nationwide while 20,000 volunteers, including those from the uniformed service, have been tapped, Galvez said.

The vaccination drive covers the general population, minors aged 12-17 years old, and booster shots for healthcare workers, senior citizens, and immunocompromised.

The private sector also provided about 407 malls, institutions, gyms, and fast food chains to be used as vaccination sites.

Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against (NTF) COVID-19, said that private, and provincial offices, as well as municipal and health offices, were allotted about 1 million doses, totalled to 38 million vaccine doses deployed in various warehouses.

“Meron po tayong sapat sa 15 million. Ang target po natin ay more or less 3 million per day or at least 10 million ang isa sa pinaka-target natin sa buong three-day vaccination. So, nakita po natin, walang pagkukulang at naka-ready na rin ‘yung aming national warehouses at tsaka meron tayong mga nakalaan na mga vehicles sa mga regions natin,” he said.

(We have enough vaccine supplies for 15 million. Our target is more or less 3 million per day or at least 10 million by the end of the three-day vaccination. As we can see, there are no shortcomings and we have readied our national warehouses and vehicles in different regions.)

Aside from vaccines, Galvez also assured the public that there are enough syringes for the vaccination drive.

The task force has adjusted its target vaccination output for the three-day vaccination drive, dubbed “Bayanihan, Bakunahan,” from 15 million to 9 million due to a shortage in ancillary supplies, particularly syringes.

Instead, there will be another national vaccination drive on December 15 to 17 to help reach the government target of fully vaccinating 54 million Filipinos by the end of the year.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier declared November 29, 30 and December 1 as Bayanihan, Bakunahan National COVID-19 Vaccination Days.

Duterte issued Proclamation 1253 to allow public and private sector employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine during these days without being marked absent from work, provided they present proof of getting vaccinated during these  days.

In a separate interview, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said the vaccination drive is open to those who will take their first and second dose, as well as to Senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals who want to have their booster shots.

"Aayusin lang ng LGUs kung saan yung mga linya [The LGUs should establish orderly queues]," she told Dobol B TV.

For the three-day event, vaccine doses from AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Moderna and Sputnik V will be used, according to Cabotaje, who also heads the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC).

Cabotaje also reminded LGUs to accept walk-ins.

"While maganda ang registration dahil maayos, we are encouraging LGUs na mag-accept ng walk-in lalo na yung senior citizens at most vulnerable," said DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje in an interview on Dobol B TV.

(While pre-registration is more orderly, we are encouraging LGUs to accept walk-ins especially senior citizens and those most vulnerable.)  with Giselle Ombay/KBK, GMA News