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Fully vaxxed Filipinos hit 70M before end of Duterte's term — NTF

The government has achieved its target of fully vaccinating 70 million Filipinos two weeks before President Rodrigo Duterte leaves office, according to the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 on Saturday.

As of June 17, a total of 70,005,247 individuals were fully vaccinated, or 77.8% of the target population, based on the latest report by the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC). 

NTF chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said the latest milestone was a testament to the administration’s commitment to vaccinate as many Filipinos as possible against the viral disease.

“This is our parting gift to the next administration. We hope that our new leaders will also prioritize our vaccination program and continue to build an immunity wall among our people,” he said in a statement.

A total of 153,013,072 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered, with 74,813,407 individuals receiving at least one dose as of June 17.

The government earlier said it was aiming to vaccinate around 77 million individuals, or 85% of the eligible population, by the end of June.

Duterte’s term ends on June 30.

Galvez stressed that a high vaccination rate and continued compliance with minimum health protocols could prevent another surge in COVID-19 cases.

“We have had many superspreader events in the past months, including the national elections, but we still managed to keep our new COVID-19 cases low because of our high vaccination rate,” Galvez, who is also the country’s vaccine czar, said.

“But vaccination alone is not enough. We still have to follow our public health protocols, including frequent washing of hands and wearing of best fitted face masks,” he added.

The NVOC also reported that 14,704,514 individuals have been administered their first booster shots, while 648,555 have received the second booster dose.

For the pediatric vaccination, a total of 3,217,367 children aged 5 to 11 were already fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, a total of 9,487,745 minors aged 12 to 17 have already received their full doses.

Galvez urged the public to get their booster shots in order to increase the protection provided by the primary doses. 

“Napakahalaga pong makakuha ng booster shot para mapalakas ang proteksyon na dulot ng bakuna. Para sa mga pwede na ring kumuha ng second booster shot, magpabakuna na agad,” he said.

(It is very important to get a booster shot to strengthen the protection brought by the vaccine. For those eligible for a second booster shot, get vaccinated immediately.)

At present, only immunocompromised individuals, healthcare workers, and senior citizens are qualified for the second booster shot.

Immunocompromised individuals must wait three months after their first booster shot, while frontline health workers and senior citizens can get their second booster shot four months after their first booster dose.

The Philippines launched its COVID-19 vaccination program in March 2021. —VBL, GMA News