MANILA – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. said the country’s vaccination program had been “sterling” but more supply of the life-saving shots is needed to augment the rollout.
“I assure everyone here that the critics are liars; our rollout has been sterling– cleaner, more efficient, well tracked; we just need more vaccines,” he said over Twitter on Wednesday night.
The statement comes after Nikkei Asia ranked the Philippines last in its latest Covid-19 Recovery Index, which assesses 121 countries and regions on infection management, vaccine rollouts and social mobility.
The report said while the Philippines’ daily cases have started to decline, “less than 30 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, low even among ASEAN countries.”
But for National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 medical adviser Dr. Teodoro Herbosa, there is “some erroneous thing” in Nikkei’s comparisons, saying that the number of cases, the vaccine rollout and the recovery of economy “are all different”.
“If you compare two countries monthly, one country can be going up in cases and the other country can be going down, so they are not comparable in terms of cases,” he said on the sidelines of the arrival of over 800,000 Pfizer jabs on October 6.
Herbosa said the focus should have been more on the trend or the epidemic curve.
“In terms of vaccine rollout, you must look at when they started the vaccination program, one country could have started in December or January, we started in March,” he said.
“If you compare us on a monthly basis, we will always be behind so it’s not fair to rate us if you do not understand the whole context,” he added.
With the arrival of more vaccine doses — both procured and through COVAX Facility — in the following days, the Philippines is expected to hit 100 million in total secured vaccine doses by end of the month.
As of October 5, the Philippines has administered 47,778,751 vaccine doses, translating to 25.37 million as first shot and 22.4 million as second dose.
A total of 80,415,200 vaccine doses have arrived since February. (PNA)