3-day vaccine drive falls short of 9-million goal; government sets 2nd round


THE government missed its target of vaccinating 9 million people during its three-day National Vaccination Days (NVD) after it administered only 7.6 million jabs.

This despite its large surplus of available Covid-19 doses, including those which were already deemed “expired,” but later declared effective and still safe for use by its manufacturers.

In an interview with PTV last Thursday, National Vaccination Operation Center (NVOC) chairperson Myrna C. Cabotaje disclosed that 7.6 million people were inoculated from November 29, 2021 to December 1, 2021.

Region 4-A registered the most number of vaccinated individuals, administering 332,034 jabs. It was followed by Region 3, vaccinating 276,005 people; and Region 7, with 218,007 administered shots.

Cabotaje said 85 percent of the administered shots were given as the first dose of beneficiaries. Another 12 percent was used as a second dose and the remaining 3 percent as booster shots.

Extended shelf life

Among the vaccines used in the government’s ongoing vaccination drive were the nearly expired AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine shots and the Pfizer Covid-19 jabs, which have an extended shelf life.

“We know the current vaccines have a very short shelf life. Like for instance, Pfizer, which initially has an November 30 expiration [date]. This was extended by another three months because they presented stability data,” Cabotaje said.

Cabotaje said they are consolidating the report on how the nearly expired vaccines and those with extended shelf vaccines were utilized by the local government units (LGU) which participated in the NVD.

“We asked provinces and municipalities to bring their expired vaccines as of November 30 to our regional offices for quarantine to see if those vaccines can still be used,” Cabotaje said.

Second round

Even with the large supply of vaccines, NVOC said some regions failed to meet their target due to several factors including the regular holiday last Tuesday and long queues that prompted some people to walk out from vaccination centers.

To take advantage of the NVD momentum, Cabotaje said the government will conduct its second round from December 15 to 17, 2021.

Despite failing to reach the 9-million goal, Cabotaje said they are still happy with the outcome of the first NVD as they were able to vaccinate over 2 million per day.

“This is more than two times the daily vaccination rate,” Cabotaje said.

No longer excused

Some LGUs will voluntarily continue the mass vaccination drive in their jurisdiction until the end of the week, but she said those who will be vaccinated in the extension period will no longer be included in the NVD figures.

Furthermore, she said, it will be up to the employers to decide whether to excuse employees who will get vaccinated during the extended period.

Under Proclamation 1253, employees who get vaccinated will only be excused from work during the three-day NVD.

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