3.5M vaccinated in ‘Bayanihan, Bakunahan’ 3: DOH

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MANILA – Almost 3.5 million people were vaccinated during the third run of the Philippines’ national vaccination drive “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” from February 10 to 18, the Department of Health (DOH) reported Saturday.

While the figures fell short of DOH’s five million targeted vaccinees, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the drive’s result is still an achievement in the efforts to battle the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Itutuloy-tuloy lang natin ang pag-ramp up ng vaccination so that we can be able to cover as much of the population as possible (We will continue to ramp up our vaccination so that we can be able to cover as much as possible),” she said in a Laging Handa briefing.

Vergeire said the next possible strategy the government can take is to bring the vaccination closer to communities, including boosting its house-to-house initiative.

National Task Force Against Covid-19 medical consultant, Dr. Ma. Paz Corrales, said the target was not reached due to some challenges, such as vaccine hesitancy and post-calamity effects.

“There were a lot of factors that is why we were not able to reach the target. One is the occurrence of Typhoon Odette and its affected areas. Then most of our health workers were afflicted with Covid-19 and there’s a little percentage of vaccine hesitancy,” she said in an interview Friday night at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay City during the arrival of 1,138,430 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, donated by the Australian government.

The Philippines has already fully vaccinated 62.3 million since the inoculation program against Covid-19 started in March 2021.

Some 9.6 million have received their booster shots while more than 395,000 in the 5 to 11 age group have the first dose.

Corrales hopes more children will avail of jabs as it is crucial in the opening of the economy and resumption of face-to-face classes.

The Philippines has so far received 224,823,360 doses of Covid-19 jabs since the initial delivery on Feb. 28, 2021 of 600,000 Sinovac doses donated by China. (PNA)