Delivery delays hit Philippines’ vaccination campaign
June 11 2021 12:48 AM
Philippines vaccination campaign
(File photo) As of June 7, Philippine authorities had fully vaccinated 2.3% of the 70 million people they aim to inoculate against Covid-19 this year.(Reuters)

Reuters/ Manila

The delay comes just as the government opened up vaccinations to around 35mn people working outside their homes

A delay in Covid-19 vaccine deliveries to the Philippines has forced some cities in the capital region to close vaccination sites, complicating Manila’s efforts to ramp up its immunisation drive.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque yesterday appealed for understanding, while assuring the public “we will have more supply in the coming months and everyone will be vaccinated.”
Only 4.5mn of the 7mn doses of Covid-19 vaccines that were scheduled to arrive in May were delivered, Carlito Galvez, head of the government’s vaccine procurement programme, told DZMM radio on Wednesday.
The delay came just as the government opened up vaccinations to around 35mn people working outside their homes, to curb Covid-19 transmission and open up the economy.
Joy Belmonte, mayor of Quezon city, said some vaccination sites in her city were being forced to close because of “erratic” supplies. “If we are on full force, we can activate 15 sites already but given the supply we are activating only 8 vaccine sites,” Belmonte told CNN Philippines.
Quezon City is the Philippines most populous city, with 2.9mn residents, and accounts for 8% of the country’s total 1.28mn Covid-19 infections.
In Marikina City, 18,000 people were awaiting the arrival of more vaccines, its mayor Marcelino Teodoro told CNN Philippines. “The problem is no longer vaccine hesitancy (but) the steady supply of vaccines,” Teodoro said. A shipment of 2.28mn Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines secured via Covax was set to arrive in the country soon, but they will be given to senior citizens, people with existing health conditions and the poor.

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