Gov’t says general vaccination to begin as early as April, no door-to-door vaccinations

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 16) — With more vaccines slated to arrive in the weeks ahead, a government official says ordinary Filipinos may soon be rolling up their sleeves for COVID-19 shots.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said in a virtual briefing Tuesday that general public vaccinations led by local government units may already be held by late April or early May.

Over a million doses of Chinese firm Sinovac's CoronaVac are expected to arrive this month, while some 900,000 doses from the country's second COVAX tranche might reach the Philippines by late March or early April, Galvez added.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque clarified there will be no door-to-door vaccinations, which President Rodrigo Duterte wanted particularly to be done to informal settlers so they can get inoculated ahead.

RELATED: Duterte: Poor Filipinos remain a priority in gov't vaccination program

"As explained to him by [Health] Secretary [Franscisco] Duque, meron pong mga iba't ibang vaccination centers na itatayo ang mga lokal na pamahalaan. At itong mga vaccination centers naman, hindi malalayo sa mga lugar o mga tahanan na tinitirhan ng mga informal settlers kasi importante rin na ma-monitor sila matapos mabakunahan,” Roque said.

[Translation: As explained to him by Secretary Duque, there will be various vaccination centers to be set up by local governments. And these vaccination centers won't be situated far from where informal settlers live, because it's important they also get monitored after getting vaccinated.]

Apart from an ambulance always being on standby in case a vaccinee experiences adverse effects, Roque said vaccination centers will also be located near hospitals for this purpose.

He also reiterated that the poor has always been among the priority sectors for the country's vaccine drive, with indigent senior citizens coming after health workers and the remaining indigent population after uniformed personnel.