MANILA, Philippines — The government will deploy COVID-19 vaccines to areas hosting economic hubs, amid surges of coronavirus infections in key cities, vaccine program chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Sunday.
At the vaccine rollout at Ayala Group's QualiMed Hospital in Santa Rosa City, Laguna, Galvez noted increases in cases in Metro Manila, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), and Central Visayas.
"We are closely watching these increases in the [number of] cases [and] we're trying to really complement that by deploying [vaccines] to affected areas [such as] Santa Rosa, an economic hub of Southern Luzon," Galvez said.
More vaccines will be deployed to areas where there is a high traffic of workers reporting for work, he said.
Galvez said the government would deal with the surge by imposing local lockdowns, as the economy could no longer endure another massive restriction on movement.
"We cannot anymore sustain a prolonged, general lockdown, which, as we had seen, contracted the economy. The way forward is to invest more on the minimum health standards," he said.
The National Task Force Against COVID-19 headed by Galvez delivered 300 doses of the China-made CoronaVac and 150 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines to health workers at QualiMed, the third private hospital to receive coronavirus shots from the newly arrived supplies from the global procurement pool COVAX.
The Philippines on Sunday evening took delivery of 38,400 doses more of AstraZeneca from COVAX, part of the initial tranche of the 525,600 doses from the World Health Organization-led supply pool.
Galvez said China, which through drug manufacturer Sinovac Biotech had donated 600,000 doses, would donate another 400,000 doses of CoronaVac on March 21.
This, he said, is on top of the 1 million doses of CoronaVac that the government has procured but has yet to be delivered to the country.
On Saturday, the national government signed a supply deal with Moderna for 13 million doses and is looking at sealing another 7 million doses ordered with the private sector. INQ
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