MANILA, Philippines – More COVID-19 vaccine doses will be deployed to parts of Mindanao that are experiencing surge in infections, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.
NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. gave the assurance during a dialogue with local officials in Cagayan de Oro City held on Monday, July 19, to discuss the health situation there.
In particular, Galvez said additional vaccine supplies will be sent to Northern Mindanao and nearby areas that reported cases of Delta COVID-19 variant.
“’Yung Region 10 magiging priority natin sa July, August and even September kaya nga nag-usap kami ni (Gingoog City) Mayor Erick [Cañosa] na kung kaya ang 2,000 [jabs] a day susuportahan namin siya,” he said.
“Ganoon din kay (Cagayan de Oro City) Mayor [Oscar Moreno] at sa lahat ng ating mga LGU kung ano ‘yung capacity natin we will support so that we can have immediate protection as soon as possible time kasi this is a race against time and we wanted na while the Delta variant is mutating, we are now vaccinating the vulnerable,” he added.
According to Dr. Joselito Retuya, a Cagayan de Oro-based epidemiologist, six Delta variant cases have been reported in Region 10, five of which are in Cagayan de Oro City and one in Gingoog City.
A shipment of 26,660 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single dose COVID-19 vaccine were delivered at the Laguindingan Airport, Misamis Oriental on Monday.
Galvez said these doses should immediately be rolled out to offer protection to the public.
The vaccine czar also reiterated the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to ensure the equitable distribution of the vaccines among the regions and provinces throughout the country.
“Ang pinaka-primary consideration natin sa pagdedeploy ng vaccines are one, ‘yung health risk, economic risk, social, at security risk. And second, geographical, if that area is potentially vulnerable considering that highly-urbanized area sya, geographically disadvantaged siya, walang hospital and then also talagang potentially siya ang tatamaan pag magkaroon ng surge, ayun ang binibigyan natin,” he said.
Aside from Region 10, the NTF also deployed a batch of Janssen COVID-19 vaccine doses to the Bangsamoro region on Monday.
The Philippines has so far confirmed 35 cases of Delta variant, including three fatalities and 32 recoveries.