NCR Plus gets 75% of latest Sinovac vaccines

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    AREAS under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) have been given 75 percent of the 400,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines that arrived last week, while the rest were allocated to areas seeing a surge in infections, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said yesterday.

    Starting today, Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, known as “NCR Plus,” will be under the stricter ECQ until April 4, Easter Sunday.

    “We decided that because these areas are considered hot spots, we need to concentrate our supplies here,” Cabotaje said in a radio interview.

    The remaining doses were given to Batangas, Cebu, Davao, Cordillera Administrative Region, and Western Visayas region.

    “This is so we can continuously protect our healthcare workers and other vulnerable population,” Cabotaje said.

    The 400,000 doses of the CoronaVac vaccine, made by the private Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, arrived on Thursday last week. It was the second and last batch of a donation from China, composed of a million doses. The first arrived on February 28, enabling the country to launch its national vaccination drive on March 1.

    Priority of the immunization program are some 1.7 million health workers nationwide.

    Aside from Sinovac vaccines, the immunization program is also using some 500,000 doses of vaccines from the UK’s AstraZeneca, provided by the COVAX Facility, World Health Organization-backed global vaccine sharing initiative.

    As of March 23, at least 508,300 vaccines have been administered out of the 1,125,600 doses available in the Philippines.

    Sen. Richard Gordon asked government not to waste its time on five mayors who had themselves inoculated ahead of health workers, and instead concentrate on fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Gordon said the government should not make a fuss as it is a trivial matter.

    He expressed belief the government is “diverting the issue.”

    “Are we successful here?… We are not succeeding kaya ang World Bank sinasabi ngayon sa atin ay kulelat na naman tayo dahil hindi natin napapa-iral yung dapat gawin laban sa COVID

    (We are not succeeding that’s why the World Bank said that we are last in the list again because we are not doing what needs to be done in the fight against COVID-19),” he said. – With Raymond Africa