Philippines’ COVID-19 vaccination is slowing down: Some observations

April 4, 2022 - 8:25 PM
Booster shot in PH
Health Secretary Francisco Duque inoculates a health worker with a booster shot of COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine during a program launching the government's vaccination drive to provide booster shots to front-liners, at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, November 17, 2021. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

The country’s vaccination efforts slowed down since COVID-19 alert level statuses were downgraded, some Filipinos shared online.

Data analyst Peter Cayton noticed this from the latest COVID-19 vaccination dashboard of the Department of Health, as of March 30.

Cayton also shared screenshots of the dashboard on Twitter on April 3.

“Our vaccination efforts are getting slower and poorly distributed over the regions,” he said.

Based on DOH’s data, the country has already fully vaccinated a total of 65,885,048 individuals.

This translates to at least 68.8% of the country’s population, according to Reuters’ global tracker.

Meanwhile, a total of 12,018,418 booster shots have already been distributed.

The breakdown of these figures, however, shows a different picture.

For the past seven days, the Philippines only administered an average of 96,626 doses on a daily basis.

Vaccination across regions is also unevenly rolled out.

So far, the top three fully vaccinated regions are the following:

  1. National Capital Region – 9,600,583
  2. Calabarzon – 6,767,856
  3. Central Luzon – 5,467,757

These figures were starkly different from that of the rest of the regions.

The regions with the least number of fully inoculated individuals are the following:

  1. CARAGA – 875,034
  2. CAR – 850,482
  3. BARMM – 492,189

Other online users suggested that presently, authorities should start prioritizing and expediting the distribution of COVID-19 jabs in the provinces, particularly in far-flung areas.

“Bakit hindi ibigay sa mga provinces na may maraming hindi pa nababakunahan o nabobooster…bakit hindi ilapit sa mga tao na hindi makapunta sa mga sites…jusko andaming paraan,” one Twitter user said.

“Our vaccination rates have slowed since we lowered down our alert levels. We have not reached our targets for 2 doses and much even more for booster shots (super baba parin). We need to expedite vaccination before 13.5 billion pesos go to waste on top of zero benefit,” tweeted a doctor named Harold Henrison Chiu.

Metro Manila and 38 other areas in the Philippines are currently placed under Alert Level 1, the most relaxed quarantine classification, until April 15.

In a previous statement, presidential adviser for entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion raised the alarm that a staggering 27 million doses of COVID-19 jabs are set to expire in July.

In response to this, a DOH official stated that they are conducting an inventory of stocks of COVID-19 vaccines to identify the ones that are about to expire.

“We are doing our wall-to-wall count. This means that DOH and its partners are doing an inventory of stocks up to the municipal level,” DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje was quoted in a report as saying.

As of writing, the nationwide vaccination program is still ongoing at different vaccination sites across the country.