Despite delays, NTF wants all Pinoys to be vaccinated

DELAY. Delayed or slowed down vaccination is being experienced in the Philippines and elsewhere after India, one of the partner manufacturers of the AstraZeneca vaccine, halted its exportation. India reports at least 50,000 new cases of Covid-19 in some days, prompting its government to prioritize its people. (PNA File Photo)
The delay in the delivery and shortage of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines are global concerns.

The Philippines and its Asian neighbors likewise face the same problems that are affecting their inoculation programs.

This, after India temporarily stopped exporting the AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), as it chose to prioritize its citizens due to increasing infections.

The Philippines currently relies on the China-made Sinovac jabs, with the recent delivery of one million doses being distributed nationwide.

The Philippines also expects its first batch of Sputnik V vaccines this month.

Despite the challenges, National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. assured all Filipinos can avail of the coronavirus jabs.

“The government is taking the necessary efforts to expedite the remaining COVAX commitment for the country,” he said in a previous statement.

On Tuesday, India’s health ministry reported 96,982 new cases, 50,143 discharges, and 446 deaths over the last 24 hours.

The Guardian reported the Indian government expanded its domestic vaccination program to include 345 million people.

About 60 million vaccine doses have already been dispensed, and the government needs another 630 million.

Countries that get supplies from the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility include 92 lower- to middle-income nations, like South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Reuters media quoted Indonesia’s Health Minister official Budi Gunadi Sadikin as saying that they were supposed to receive 2.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on March 22 and 7.8 million doses in April.

Indonesia, with a population of 268 million, tallied 6,731 new cases and 427 deaths on Sunday.

Like the Philippines, it is also reliant on Sinovac for the meantime.

South Korea, on the other hand, will receive only 432,000 doses of the 690,000 that were promised. The shipment will be delayed until the third week of April.

“There’s uncertainty over global vaccine supplies but we’re working on a plan to ensure no disruptions in the second quarter and making efforts to secure more vaccines,” South Korea’s Covid-19 vaccination task force head Kim Ki-nam said in an international report.

Galvez said the Task Group on Diplomatic Engagement and Negotiation showed the Philippines is 48th among 141 countries in terms of administering the Covid-19 vaccine as of March 30. (Christine Cudis, PNA)