Gov’t mulls another 3-day vax drive in mid-December

December 1, 2021 | 11:52am

MANILA, Philippines — The national government is considering another three-day national vaccination run from December 15-17, the Palace said Wednesday amid fears of the newly-discovered Omicron variant of the coronavirus. 

Speaking in an interview aired over ABS-CBN News Channel, acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said that this decision came after the vaccination numbers of the first day of the national drive in November fell short of the target of three million per day. 

According to data from the Philippine National Police, some 3.6 million have been vaccinated in the national vaccination program’s three-day drive so far in over five thousand vaccination centers across the country. 

“We’re still finalizing that, but the reason for all of this is to add the defense against Omicron and whatever variants there are. The numbers we saw in the [case] report earlier were very good…it’s going down, and we’re hoping this will continue so we can go to the new normal way of living,” he said in mixed Filipino and English. 

Day one of the three-day campaign hit 2.55 million vaccinees out of the targeted three million. This, after the national government already downgraded its total target from 15 million to 9 million before the three days. 

“Today we’re still waiting for the numbers, but we are quite optimistic that we will hit near the target,” Nograles said. 

This comes after the Department of Health reported in its daily tally on Tuesday afternoon the lowest daily increase and lowest positivity rate among tests in 2021. 

No cases of the Omicron variant, which has since been designated as a variant of concern, have been detected in the country yet, but health experts have said that it is just a matter of time.

“It means that it’s still working. There is a lot that we can push for the people who are encouraged to get vaccinated,” Nograles said. “The idea really is to continue to ramp up [vaccination.]”

The Cabinet Secretary also said that malls and establishments may decide on their own whether or not to require customers to wear face shields inside. 

“It’s on the discretion of the establishment because sometimes the establishments might believe that it’s better protection for their customers, their clientele and their employees, so it’s really up to them,” he said.

To date, health authorities have recorded 2.8 million cases of the pathogen in the Philippines. — Franco Luna 

As It Happens

LATEST UPDATE: November 12, 2021 – 11:01am

A new thread on the Philippines’ vaccination program in 2021 in the government’s revised objective to reach “population protection.” (Main image: The STAR/Michael Varcas, file)

November 12, 2021 – 11:01am

Starting December 1, the vaccination of employees required to work on-site will be mandatory in the public and private sector in areas with sufficient COVID-19 jabs supply.

“However, eligible employees who remain to be unvaccinated may not be terminated but they shall be required to undergo regular RT-PCR testing, or antigen tests, at their own expense,” Malacañang says.

November 3, 2021 – 10:11am

The Philippine government is targeting to administer at least 15 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines before the end of November, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. says.

The government aims to achieve 1 million to 1.5 million jabs per day starting November 20.

To achieve this, Galvez says about 4,000 to 5,000 vaccination sites would be activated, including malls, universities, schools, gyms, camps and function halls of different government agencies.

October 27, 2021 – 10:56am

The Philippine government will start the full rollout of COVID-19 vaccination among minors aged 12 to 17 on November 5.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire says the guidelines are being drafted.

October 25, 2021 – 9:02am

The Health Technology Assessment Council of the Department of Health recommends the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for healthcare workers by fourth quarter of this year.

The council also recommends rolling out booster shots among eligible priority groups by next year.

HTAC says the recommendations are offered “in consideration of sufficient vaccine supply and acceptable coverage for primary vaccination.”

October 8, 2021 – 10:00am

Another 2.1 million doses of Moderna and more than 661,100 doses of Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccines arrive at NAIA Terminal 1 on Friday morning.

The Moderna vaccines are procured by the government while the Astrazeneca jabs were bought by the private sector.