MANILA: The Philippine government said on Wednesday it aims to vaccinate 15 million people against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in a three-day immunization drive, which will run from Nov. 29-Dec. 1.
Manila is ramping up vaccination efforts to reach its target of immunizing 50 million people before the year ends. The Southeast Asian nation with a population of 110 million has so far fully vaccinated only about 30 million people.
“The objective is to mobilize all stakeholders, people and logistics to facilitate the vaccination … of at least 15 million individuals in three days,” the country’s vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez, said in a televised meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte.
He added that some 5,000 vaccination sites will be established at schools, colleges, gymnasiums, fast food chains, malls and workplaces across the country, with local officials, military and police mobilized to support the effort.
“This is also one way to help those areas where vaccination rate is low because of some challenges and logistical limitations,” Galvez said.
Health organizations such as the Philippine Medical Association and the Philippine Pediatric Society will be involved as well, as the country last month began vaccinating children aged 12-17.
Duterte urged the public to participate in the mass immunization campaign, which will coincide with the anniversary of the birth of one of the country’s national heroes, 19th-century revolutionary leader Andres Bonifacio.
“With this, we want to convey the message that all vaccinated Filipinos … are heroes,” Duterte said. “Those who haven’t been vaccinated are the ugly ones.”
COVID-19 cases in the Philippines continue to decline after reaching over 26,000 new infections daily in mid-September, when the delta variant of the virus swept the country.
On Wednesday, authorities reported 2,646 new infections. The total tally now stands at slightly over 2.8 million, with 44,665 deaths.
“We cannot lose our focus, especially now that cases are down,” Duterte said. “And this is further reason to speed up vaccination to prevent another surge.”