This website requires JavaScript.

Over 70 Million Pinoys Still Unvaccinated

Over 70 Million Pinoys Still Unvaccinated
Baguio City residents, including those aged 12 to 17 years, wait to be inoculated against COVID-19 at the parking area of a mall on Nov. 22, 2021. Photo by Andy Zapata Jr., The Philippine STAR

Over 70 million Filipinos are still not vaccinated against COVID-19, the National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar said on Wednesday, Nov. 24.

“There are still 70 million people who have not yet (received) the first dose. I think it is important for the government to prioritize first those people... particularly the 40% of senior citizens,” Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

His remarks were in response to reporters asking about the call of the business sector to get priority access in the vaccine rollout.

“Our priority is not a privilege access,” stressed Galvez, who was interviewed as he welcomed the arrival of 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines donated by the Australian government at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.

He said “all business sectors” are signatories to the tripartite agreement and they agreed to follow the priorities to be taken by the government.

At this point, Galvez said the government believes “it is really moral and mandatory that we have to finish first those 70 million” because they are the most vulnerable to COVID-19, not having received even one dose of the vaccine.

On the latest donation of vaccines received by the Philippines, Galvez said: “We would like to thank Ambassador Steven Robinson and also the Australian government and its people for their act of compassion and kindness.”

More incentives

For his part, Sen. Bong Go encouraged both public and private sectors to come up with more incentives for those fully inoculated against COVID-19 to address vaccine hesitancy.

Earlier, Go backed a proposal from the Metro Manila Council (MMC), composed of all the mayors of the National Capital Region (NCR), to ease certain COVID-19-related restrictions for those fully vaccinated.

“If we can relax a bit the travel restrictions and other protocols, we hope that more sectors of the economy will be opened up. More of our countrymen will be able to work and return to their jobs again. This means that more families will be able to recover from the hardships caused by the pandemic,” said Go, the administration’s bet for president in next year’s elections.

Over 3 million kids vaccinated

Over three million Filipino children aged 12 to 17 have already received their COVID-19 jabs, President Duterte said.

“I am very pleased to know that we have already vaccinated more than three million minors aged 12 to 17, as of today (Tuesday). That’s a lot,” the President said during a taped public ad-dress aired on Tuesday night, Nov. 23.

The government rolled out its pediatric COVID-19 inoculation program last month with the aim of vaccinating 10 million (80%) of the 12.7 million young Filipinos in the age bracket by the end of this year.

The FDA, which has approved Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna for minors, said the government is also likely to start the COVID-19 vaccination of children aged 11 years old and below be-fore the end of the year.

A report from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed that 580 vaccinees in the 12-17 age bracket experienced adverse events following immunization (AEFIs) as of Nov. 14.

“The most common reported reactions are vaccination/injection site pain, dizziness, headache, blood pressure increase and tachycardia,” the FDA said in its “Suspected Adverse Reactions to COVID-19 Vaccines” report.

It showed that the 580 AEFIs among minors form part of the 74,955 suspected adverse reactions reported.

This sum is broken down corresponding to the vaccine as follows: Sinovac or Coronavac (29,311); AstraZeneca (32,600); Sputnik V (753); Pfizer-BioNTech or Comirnaty (6,042); Moderna (2,577); Janssen (3,550) and Sinopharm (122).

This is relative to the number of doses administered as of Nov. 14, as follows: Sinovac at 33,018,431; Pfizer-BioNTech, 14,961,748; AstraZeneca, 9,835,922; Moderna, 6,796,851; Janssen, 3,596,097; Sinopharm, 908,199 and Sputnik, 596,746.?“Symptoms or diseases that occur after vaccination are reported if there is a suspicion of a possible link. However, it cannot be assumed that there is a causal relationship between the suspected adverse reaction and the vaccine,” FDA noted.?

Duterte sees progress

Meanwhile, Duterte maintained the country is “slowly but surely” making progress in its COVID-19 campaign.

“I am very pleased to inform the entire nation that we continue to beat COVID-19. Recent statistics affirmed this,” he said.

However, the Chief Executive urged Filipinos to continue adhering to government-mandated health protocols to sustain the current gains.

The President also reminded everyone, even those who are fully vaccinated, to remain vigilant and advised them to continue following the minimum health protocols such as wearing of face masks, maintaining social distancing and frequent hand washing.

Duterte said 76.5 million vaccine doses have been administered throughout the country as of Tuesday. Of this number, more than 33.5 million are fully vaccinated, he said. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Helen Flores, Sheila Crisostomo