July 19, 2022
MANILA , Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) aims to administer at least 23 million COVID-19 booster shots within President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s first 100 days in office, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the officer in charge of the department, said on Monday.
President Ferdinand Marcos himself said in a meeting with Vergeire that he would want the DOH to make the booster shots more accessible, the DOH OIC said on Monday in an interview on ABS-CBN’s “TeleRadyo.”
According to Vergeire, the president “values the evidence that the first booster will really up the immunity of the population.”
“So throughout the conversation or the meeting, he was also really trying to relate our condition; how moving forward as a country we will respond [to the pandemic]; if and when we can be able to improve our booster coverage and [how] we’ll be able to confidently say: We can loosen or remove restrictions,” Vergeire said in Filipino.
“If we’re able to achieve that in these 100 days, then that’s when we can talk if we can have new or further easing of restrictions,” she said.
The aim of the DOH is to give booster shots to only half of the 55 million full-vaccinated individuals – not to the entire eligible population.
“It’s not really realistic for the first 100 days, but at least we’re targeting 50 percent,” Vergeire said.
That means that, for 100 days, there should be 397,000 to 400,000 people vaccinated each day.
So far, only 15 million people have been given booster shots.
Meanwhile, Vergeire reiterated the DOH still did not think it would be necessary to make booster jabs mandatory.
Instead, Vergeire said the DOH was planning to give incentives to encourage people and local governments to reach the target of 50 percent.
The country is currently facing a rise in COVID-19 infections, as active cases jumped to over 20,000 on Monday.
As of July 18, the nationwide COVID-19 caseload is 3,735,385, with 3,654,218 recoveries and 60,641 deaths.