Vaccination won’t stop until coronavirus gone: task force chief

(file photo)

MANILA – The National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 is eyeing an annual vaccination program for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) until the virus is totally eliminated.

NTF Chief Implementer, Sec. Carlito Galvez Galvez Jr. said the vaccination will be carried out through phases to ensure it will be effectively implemented.

“We need to have an annual vaccination program. Hindi ito pwedeng (It should not be) one-shot, big shot. It should be framed in a sense that it’s a multi-year plan until the elimination of the disease,” Galvez, also the vaccine czar, said in a news release on Friday.

He said geographical setting is one of the considerations to achieve population protection.

“Our plan is one, to have a geographical setting of population protection in order to contain the disease. Then, shift to targeting herd immunity to achieve complete downfall of cases and become very controlled,” he said.

The exit strategy, he added, would be disease elimination.

So kailangan talaga phased (It must be done in phases). At the same time, a multi-year plan,” he added.

Vaccine shipments

Galvez said the vaccine shipments delivered this week will be equitably deployed to regions.

Nagkakaroon tayo ng equitable distribution, at the same time, meron tayong focus and expand. ‘Yun ang strategy natin (We have an equitable distribution, at the same time, we implement the focus and expand strategy),” he said.

To date, the Philippines has 30,985,130 Covid-19 vaccines — 15.3 million doses procured by the national government, 2.2 million doses purchased by the private sector, 10.2 million doses donated through the COVAX Facility, and 2.1 million doses acquired through bilateral donations.

For this year, the government has secured 164 million doses from various pharmaceutical companies and the COVAX Facility — 26 million Sinovac, 40 million Pfizer-BioNTech, 20 million Moderna, 17 million AstraZeneca procurement by the private sector and local government units, and 10 million Sputnik V.

The total also includes 44 million doses donated through the COVAX Facility, 5 million doses from the COVAX-led cost-sharing scheme, and 2 million doses of foreign-donated jabs.

Galvez said the NTF is still negotiating with the pharmaceutical companies to procure 26 million additional doses for the transition plan — 10 million of Sinovac, 6 million of Janssen, and 10 million of Novavax, developed by the Serum Institute of India.

The transition plan will allow the country to secure a “stable and sustainable supply” of vaccines beyond this year.

‘Yun ang nakita namin na may available na supply. Just in case na mayroong available na mga Western brands, kukuha pa rin tayo (We see that they still have available supplies. Just in case more Western vaccines will become available, we will also procure it,” Galvez said. (PNA)

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