The Philippines will receive 1.96 million more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from Japan, Tokyo’s foreign affairs officials said on Friday.  

This as the vaccination rate against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the National Capital Region (NCR) hit 79%. 

The new batch of donated vaccines, which comes after Japan fulfilled its promise to give 1.12 million AstraZeneca doses to Manila, are expected to arrive in the Philippines this month, the Japanese embassy said in a statement. 

“On the back of Japan’s comprehensive cooperation with the Philippines to beat COVID-19, this fresh initiative comes shortly after Japan fulfilled its first provision of 1.12 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses to the country last July,” it said.   

“Also, outside of the COVAX facility, this latest provision makes Japan’s total bilateral contribution to the country’s vaccine stockpile reach more than three million doses, as of date,” it added. 

Private companies are also doing their share by donating vaccines to LGUs. 

Listed holdings firm GT Capital Holdings, Inc. Announced on Friday that it, along with its partners, recently donated 3,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to the Makati City government. 

GT Capital’s subsidiary Federal Land and Metrobank Foundation, Inc. participated in the initiative. Executives from GT Capital, Metrobank and officials turned over the vaccine doses to Makati City officials on Sept. 30. 

Makati Mayor Mar-len Abigail S. Binay thanked the firms for their donation. “This is a collaborative effort between the private and public sectors for us to get back to normal… Because of this donation, we were able to jumpstart the receiving of vaccine donations from other companies as well,” she was quoted as saying. 

The Philippines has so far received nearly 87.7 million doses of various brands of coronavirus vaccine since its vaccination program began in March. 

 The country, which scored poorly in a global index that measured the recovery of more than 100 countries from the coronavirus pandemic, is boosting its vaccination drive to reach its target of inoculating at least 50% of its adult population by year-end. The government aims to fully vaccinate 70% of the population by February next year. 

So far, around 22% of the country’s population is fully vaccinated, the latest data from Johns Hopkins University showed. 

NCR VAX RATE HITS 79% 

Things are much better in the NCR as Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) reported that 79% of eligible residents in the NCR have received their full doses of COVID-19 vaccines. 

“As of Oct. 13,… those who had two doses is about 7.7 million or equivalent to 79.08% of the population of Metro Manila,” MMDA Chairman Benjamin “Benhur” de Castro Abalos, Jr. said during a virtual briefing on Friday. 

He expects the NCR to hit vaccination rates of 88% by Nov. 13, and 95% by Jan 13, 2022. 

P48-M FOR VACCINATIONS IN MINDANAO 

While the NCR’s vaccination rate is promising, other parts of the country are having a more difficult time, which is why the European Union has set aside €800,000 (over P47 million) to fund local government coronavirus vaccination programs in Mindanao. 

The humanitarian aid will support organizations on the ground start vaccinations for 70,000 people in hard-to-reach areas in the region, the European External Action Service (EAAS) in Manila said in a press release on Friday. 

These organizations will work to improve access to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines and support local government and health care authorities’ vaccination campaigns. 

“The unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases threatens the lives and livelihoods of many in the Philippines, especially those living in remote areas like Mindanao where access to medical care can sometimes be limited,” Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič said.  

“This funding from the EU will ensure vulnerable and marginalized people receive vital health support to go through this difficult time.”  

Action Against Hunger, CARE International, and Oxfam International will also focus on improving hygiene practices and offer vaccine information in the 19 municipalities.  

“Although the government plans to expand the vaccination rollout in the coming months outside of the capital, Manila, where most cases have been reported, the province [sic] of Mindanao is not listed amongst the priority regions,” EAAS said. 

COVID COUNT 

The Department of Health (DoH) on Friday reported 7,625 coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 2.7 million.   

The death toll rose to 40,424 after 203 more patients died, while recoveries increased by 13,363 to 2.59 million, the DoH said in a bulletin.   

The health agency said there were 78,999 active cases, 80.6% of which were mild, 6.4% were asymptomatic, 7.38% were moderate, 3.9% were severe, and 1.7% were critical.   

The agency said 65 duplicates were removed from the tally, 46 of which were reclassified as recoveries. It added that 109 recoveries were reclassified as deaths. Three laboratories failed to submit data on Oct. 13.  Kyle Aristophere Atienza, Angelica Y. Yang, and Jenina Ibañez



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