As part of its goal to achieve a “better Christmas” this year, the government is hoping to vaccinate at least 25 million, at least by this coming September.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., speaking during a meeting of the National Anti-Covid19 Task Force last week, this number is expected to come from the most vulnerable sectors – health care workers, senior citizens and persons with co-morbidities.
He said the focus areas are Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, and Pampanga, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, Bulacan, Batangas and Cavite provinces.
But rather than expressing elation, many people were instead disappointed with Galvez’s prediction as this is a radical departure from what he had previously expressed in public.
Last March, it should be recalled, Galvez was quoted in several reports as saying that the government is targeting to reach “herd immunity” by vaccinating some 70 million persons this year, which is why Filipinos can expect a “better Christmas.”
“Ngayon, ang aming declaration is that we will have a better Christmas this year. Kailangan ‘yun ang target namin na we will have a better Christmas. We will inoculate 70 million,” he told an ABS-CBN interview.
However, the data seems to be going against Galvez’s rosy prediction of a “better Christmas” for Filipinos by yearend, because at the rate vaccinations are progressing this is a far-fetched possibility.
(Galvez however interjected his prediction is possible if the government manages to vaccinate 58 million by end of November. He crowed that if all goes well, Covid will be eliminated by 2Q of 2022.)
An excellent case in point is the complaint aired by Manila Mayor Isko Moreno recently about the “superslow” rollout of the vaccine by the Department of Health that is hampering City Hall’s vaccination drive.
He said the rollout rate of the vaccines, from storage facilities run by the national government to the various local government units, is unacceptable as it could prejudice the health and well-being of Manilans.
Figures provided by the Department of Health said that (as of May 11, 2021) only about 515,000 persons had been fully vaccinated, or less than one percent of the Philippines’ 110-million population.
At this current pace, it would take some 10 years to get the country back to normal, analysts said.
Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler