MANILA – The government’s pandemic response task force is eyeing another round of the “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” national coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination days from December 15 to 17 to reach its target to inoculate 54 million people by the end of the year, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
Acting Presidential Spokesperson, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has yet to finalize the proposal but is considering it amid the looming threat of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
“We’re also considering another round of vaccination days for December, 15, 16, 17. Although we’re still finalizing that. But the reason for all of this is again to add (to) the defense against Omicron and whatever variants there are,” Nograles said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel's (ANC) Headstart.
He said whether or not there would be a need for a second round of national vaccination days would be up to the IATF and National Vaccines Operation Center (NVOC).
Despite falling short of its three million target vaccinations on the first day of the national vaccination drive with only 2.55 million, Nograles said he was optimistic that numbers would increase in the coming days.
“Yung 2.55 million natin, bagamat it’s short of the three million that we’ve pegged as a target for Day 1, it still remains to be. Because of that, we now are part of the top 5 in a single day na nagkaroon ng ganyan karaming nabakunahan in one day (Even if the 2.55 million vaccinations fell short of the three million we’ve pegged as target for Day 1, it still remains to be. Because of that, we now are a part of the top 5 single day vaccinations). It means that it’s working. Marami pang gustong magpabakuna, maraming pwede pa nating ma-push at maenganyo na magpabakuna (A lot of people want to get vaccinated. There are still a lot of people we could encourage to get vaccinated),” he said.
He said there were challenges encountered during the first day of the national vaccination drive, but these were addressed on the second day.
“Obviously on the first day, you will see the challenges. No matter how much you prepare on the ground, magkakaroon ka talaga ng mga (there will be) local challenges, which we’ve resolved for Day 2 and Day 3 as far as walk-ins are concerned,” he added.
The 'Bayanihan, Bakunahan' drive, which runs from Monday to Wednesday, aims to vaccinate about nine million individuals in 8,000 sites across 16 regions nationwide.
The country aims to fully vaccinate a total of 54 million Filipinos by the end of the year, lower than the original plan of vaccinating 77 million people or 70 percent of the 110 million total population.
Meanwhile, Nograles said the Palace is open to the possibility of conducting daily Covid-19 vaccinations, but it would depend on the availability of vaccine supplies in the local government units (LGUs).
“On the ground, it’s really up to the LGUs to make the adjustments as they see it fit doon sa (on the) ground. But we’ve always been pushing the LGUs – whatever you can do to encourage more people to get vaccinated, gawin na natin (let’s do it),” he said.
Nograles said local officials are in the best position to determine whether or not walk-in vaccinations could be accommodated.
“We’ve actually opened up vaccination to many of our countrymen and countrywomen and so because we have so many vaccines, mataas ang ating (there is a high) vaccine supply. Then the LGUs can be as open as they can, as long as you stick to the protocols,” he added. (PNA)