Metro Manila cities limit vaccination amid insufficient supply

Philstar

July 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila's cities are starting to feel the bite of a slowly-dwindling jab supply, with the capital region's local governments limiting their inoculation programs' vaccine coverage or stopping them altogether.

In separate statements, local government units in the Metro acknowledged the shortage of vaccine supplies from the national government, which affected their own vaccine programs on the ground.

Caloocan City in an advisory announced that it canceled all scheduled first-dose vaccinations for Tuesday, July 6.

"The local government of Caloocan is at present waiting for additional supplies for vaccines against COVID-19 from the national government," the advisory read in Filipino.

Only scheduled second doses would be accommodated for that day, the city government said, while first doses would only continue once supplies arrive.

In its official Facebook page, Makati City wrote in Filipino: "Because the national government was not able to deliver vaccines for the A4 category, the administering of scheduled first doses will not continue tomorrow, July 5."

The city government added that the vaccination sites in Glorietta 2, Ayala Malls Circuit, San Lorenzo Place, Benigno Aquino National High School, and Palanan Elementary School would be closed for the time being.

Scheduled second doses were directed to go to the Makati Coliseum and the Fort Bonifacio Elementary School.

Malabon City told the same story on the Facebook channel of its public information office, where walk-in vaccination was stopped in all vaccination sites for Monday "due to limited vaccine supply."

First doses, the city government said, will continue at Fishermall Malabon and the Mega Vaccination Site at the Oreta Sports Complex.

This, while scheduled first and second doses will continue as planned at the remaining five sites: Malabon Elementary School, Potrero Elementary School, Ninoy Aquino Elementary School, Epifanio Delos Santos Elementary School, and Robinson's Townmall Malabon.

Muntinlupa City's government also announced: "Due to limited vaccine supply, all sites will not accept walk-ins."

The local government said it anticipates the delivery of additional supplies from the national government in the coming days.

Muntinlupa has so far reached 149,585 or 38.8% of the targeted 385,725 residents in the city, the amount needed to reach herd immunity.

Valenzuela City, for its part, declared that Monday, July 5, would be the last day it would hand out vaccination appointment letters and vaccine administering for anyone looking to get their first dose in all vaccination sites.

"The city government of Valenzuela continues to wait for additional supplies of COVID-19 vaccines from the national government," it said in Filipino.

"The sending of appointment letters will continue once new supplies come in."

All second doses are already reserved, however, and will continue as planned.

Valenzuela has so far inoculated 173,930 of its residents, good for 37.0% of its 470,000 target.

'That's the reality'

At a press briefing earlier Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the one million AstraZeneca vaccine doses donated by Japan, along with 170,000 Sputnik V doses are expected to arrive this week.

"The truth is that the vaccine is not enough ... We are not just running out of supply, it is the whole Philippines ... Unfortunately, we do not manufacture the vaccines," he also said on Thursday, July 1.

"We're asking for patience. That's just the reality of things."

Another round of Pfizer vaccines amounting to 40 million doses is also expected to come in August.

To date, 1.43 million coronavirus infections have been recorded in the Philippines, 52,708 of whom are still classified as active cases.

2,525,286 Filipinos are now fully vaccinated for COVID-19 around the country, while 7,538,128 have received their first shot as of June 27.

Per Our World in Data, the Philippines is second to the last in Southeast Asia in terms of the amount of the country's population who have already received at least one vaccine jab.

The Philippines remains among the worst countries in the world when it comes to vaccines per population.

The government now favors "population protection" as a target since herd immunity, which would require vaccinating at least 70% of an area's population, "has a lot of attached criteria," the health department said in May.

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