Duterte assures COVID-19 vaccines are for everybody, but hotspots a priority for now

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 3) — President Rodrigo Duterte assured that COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed to all local government units when the government already has stable supplies.

During his televised weekly address, the President also noted that given vaccine supply problems, areas with high number of COVID-19 cases will be prioritized for the meantime.

“Let me just assure everybody, anywhere in the Philippines, that the vaccine that we are giving is for all Filipinos,” he said. “It’s just a matter of priority dito sa mga (here in the) hotspots kagaya ng Maynila (like Manila)... nandito lahat ng tao so iyong transmission mas mabilis (most of the people are here so transmission is faster).”

Duterte emphasized that if the government has enough doses, no one would have to wait, and vaccines will be given immediately.

Ang problema talaga ng Pilipinas ay wala tayong supply na maganda… If we have the numbers in sufficient vaccines, hindi na sila maghintay, ibigay na natin agad,” he explained.

[Translation: The problem of the Philippines really is we have no steady suppy. If we have the numbers in sufficient vaccines, they woud not have to wait and we'll give it to them immediately.]

Currently, the country has received some 34 million coronavirus shots, of which almost 21 million were already administered.

Most of the supply had been allocated to the National Capital Region, the center of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, followed by CALABARZON, and Central Luzon.

Latest government data also shows that total COVID-19 cases in the country has reached over 1.6 million after adding 8,167 on Monday, of which 2,074 came from NCR.

Death toll stood at 28,093 and recoveries at 1,515,054.

Meanwhile, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. also noted that there is still the issue of vaccine hesitancy among the elderly. He noted that only 2.6 million senior citizens have received both their doses since the government started vaccinating the group early this year.

By end-August, he said they hope to fully immunize 5 million senior citizens.

To date, around 9.1 million Filipinos are now fully vaccinated. The figure is still far from the government’s 70-million target in order to achieve population protection this year.