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Palace: Areas must experience COVID-19 surge to get more vaccines

By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: NTF COVID-19

Malacañang said Thursday areas must experience a wave of infections before they could get additional COVID-19 vaccines from the national government due to limited supply. 

Asked if areas must first report rising coronavirus infections before they get prioritized in vaccine allocation, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said, "Unfortunately, yes, because of limited supply." 

"Ang katotohanan, hindi po sapat ang bakuna sa ngayon. Lahat po ng ating mga kababayan ay nagsasabi, kulang po ang bakuna," he said in a press briefing. 

He also asked the local government units for indulgence as Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Metro Davao and Metro Cebu were being prioritized and getting more doses "not only because of the higher cases there, but also because of the higher population.”

The government has also prioritized the cities of Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Baguio, Zamboanga, Dumaguete, Tuguegarao, General Santos, Naga, and Legaspi in the vaccine distribution. 

"[U]nfortunately, we do not manufacture the vaccines. Mayroon po talagang scarcity of supply worldwide," he said.

"Humihingi po kami ng pasensya dahil iyan po ang realidad. We cannot do anything about it," Roque added.

The Philippines has so far received 12,000,000 doses from China-based Sinovac Biotech, 2,556,000 doses from British drugmaker AstraZeneca, 2,469,870 doses from American firm Pfizer-BioNTech, 249,600 doses from Moderna, and 180,000 doses from Russia’s Sputnik V which bring the total inventory to 17,455,470 doses capable of fully vaccinating 8,727,735 individuals.

As of July 1, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 1,418,337 total COVID-19 infections, 1,341,973, and 24,797 deaths.

Meanwhile, as of June 27, 10,065,414 COVID-19 jabs have been administered nationwide of which 7,538,128 individuals have received the first dose while 2,527,286 have completed two doses.