By Deighton Acuin


Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Thursday the government is “relentless” in its target to have herd immunity against COVID-19 in order to have a “better Christmas” this year.

In an interview over ANC, Galvez said the target of inoculating 50 to 70 million individuals is still achievable despite having a slow start of the COVID-19 vaccination program.

“Our declaration is we will have a better Christmas this year. That needs to be our target, that we will have a better Christmas,” Galvez told ANC in a mix of English and Filipino.

“Right now we’re really moving slow because we can’t vaccinate all our health workers at once. Somebody needs to man the hospital in case of adverse effects.”

“We are relentlessly looking for a stable and steady supply… We [are] very ambitious that we can vaccinate more or less 70 million people,” Galvez added.

The 1,125,600 vaccine doses in the country were reserved for the healthcare workers — the top priority of the inoculation campaign.

The Philippines expects to receive additional 2.3 million doses from China-based Sinovac Biotech and British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and millions of more doses in succeeding months.

Earlier, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the government will begin 450,000 vaccinations daily in April to further achieve herd immunity.

A total of 240,297 health workers have been vaccinated as of Tuesday.