PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte expressed concern over government data that showed a low vaccination rate, thereby missing its target.
He then made a public appeal for Filipinos to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I invite all our countrymen to be vaccinated at the earliest possible opportunity because this is the most, if not the only way, effective way to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic,” Duterte said in a televised address.
The same data also showed the government was far behind its immunization targets as it battles one of Asia’s worst and longest-running outbreaks.
“Let us all keep in mind that the vaccine will not only protect you from the virus, it will also protect your loved ones, especially the sick and elderly.”
John Wong, a data analyst on the government’s coronavirus task force, said that since the national vaccine rollout started on March 1, the government only managed to inoculate 14 percent of senior citizens and 8 percent of people with health conditions. The figure is way below its target of immunizing 21 percent for each of these priority sectors for vaccination against the deadly virus from Wuhan, China.
Interestingly, Wong blamed the snail-paced vaccine rollout to limited vaccine supplies, vaccine hesitancy and accessibility problems.
“Some people want the vaccine but cannot access it. We need to address access issues,” Wong said.
He added that only half of the 2.1 million people eligible for a second dose had come back to receive it.
“We need to follow up on this,” he added.
The Philippines has logged 1.24 million cases and 21,158 deaths since its first domestic infections in March last year.
The over 50s were the worst hit, accounting for more than 81 percent of deaths, Wong said.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez expects a steadier flow of vaccine supply from this month onwards.
The Philippines is set to receive nearly 10 million doses of vaccines of various brands in June, which would allow for 1.5 million shots to be administered weekly.
To date, the Department of Health said that the average in the last seven days show a low 144,402 shots daily.