MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health said opening round-the-clock vaccination sites is not yet among its priorities as it would rather see first if opening large vaccination centers would speed up the sluggish rollout of shots.
“Sa ngayon po ‘yan (24/7 vaccination sites) po ay hindi pa ho nasa prayoridad ng mga strategies na gagawin natin ngayon,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told state-run People’s Television on Saturday.
(For now, 24/7 vaccination sites are not yet among the priority strategies that we are implementing.)
Vergeire said they are currently focused on opening large vaccination sites in cooperation with private firms, which would also provide the manpower for these centers.
She added that the DOH might consider opening 24/7 vaccination sites when there are more vaccine supplies and there is a need to speed up vaccinations.
Deputy Speaker Michael Romero (1-PACMAN party-list) proposed that 24/7 vaccination centers be opened so the country could reach herd immunity within the year, as targeted by the government.
“So long as vaccines are already available, the possibility of reaching herd immunity at the fastest possible period of time will be answered by 24/7 vaccine center operations,” Romero said.
The country is only administering an average of around 100,000 shots per day when it aims to give out 500,000 shots a day to reach herd immunity in the worst affected regions by November.
This, in turn, makes the Philippines a regional laggard in vaccinations, with only around 800,000 people being fully vaccinated, representing less than 1% of the total population. — Xave Gregorio
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