Govt wants 20M fully vaccinated by Sept; inoculation for kids, general public eyed by end of Oct, Nov

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 2) — The number of fully vaccinated Filipinos may be raised to 20 million by this month, ahead of the planned inoculation drive for children and the general public, the country's vaccine chief said Thursday.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. told CNN Philippines' The Source that the government intends to administer second shots to 5 million to 6 million more Filipinos this month, as more doses are being delivered to the country.

"We are focusing na sa second dosing, maitaas ang capacity ng ating mga vaccination sites so that yung nakikita natin yung mga vaccine hindi natetengga sa warehouse," he said.

[Translation: We are focusing on ramping up the capacity of vaccination sites for second dosing so that vaccines are not just stored in warehouses.]

Galvez earlier said around 25 million vaccines doses will arrive in the Philippines this month and 29.5 million more will be shipped by October, with steadier supply from brands like Pfizer and Sinovac.

Kids, general public may get doses as early as October

Meanwhile, the vaccine czar stressed that children and the rest of the general public will likely get their doses by end of October or November, Galvez said.

"We are looking at the general public vaccination, (this) may be by end of October or November. This includes pediatrics' vaccination when we have already the saturation of our vaccination program," he said.

He said brands that are initially considered among minors are Pfizer, which was recently granted a full approval by the US Food and Drug Administration; Sinovac, which earlier applied for an emergency use authorization for three years old and above; and Moderna, which launched clinical trials for children younger than 12.

Galvez said Metro Manila and some other regions can expect to see a "better Christmas" this year, with the adjusted target of 50 to 60% population protection in areas which are "very vulnerable" to surges.

He said Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Davao Region can expect an increase in their vaccine allocation soon.

The government has set a target of inoculating 77 million Filipinos, or 70% of the country's 109-million population, to achieve herd immunity by yearend. Some 14 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to date.