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More vax doses allocated for areas under Delta threat

SECOND DOSES. Nurse Myrna Bernardino (right) and a Philippine Red Cross volunteer prepare Covid-19 vaccines to be administered as second doses at Central Mall Dasmariñas in Cavite on July 16, 2021. Different priority groups received free jabs. (PNA photo by Gil Calinga)
MANILA — Additional Covid-19 vaccines will be deployed to areas where the more transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus was detected.
Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Chief Implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19, said inoculation program in Northern Mindanao (Region 10), National Capital Region (NCR), Western Visayas (Region 6), and other areas of concern will be prioritized.
"Because of the Delta, we are redeploying our vaccines to the Delta variant area of concerns in Region 10, in NCR, in Region 6 at saka (and) po 'yung mga (those under) ECQ and MECQ (enhanced community quarantine and modified enhance community quarantine) areas," he said during a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao on Monday night.
There is also a possibility to impose stricter measures, according to the President, to prevent local transmission of the variant that is said to be more aggressive and fatal.
The Delta variant, first discovered in India, is 60 percent more transmissible than the original strain and the common Alpha variant (B.1.1.7. UK lineage).
A person with the original strain can infect two others while a person with Delta variant can transmit the disease to up to eight persons, according to experts.
Equal distribution
Among non-areas of concern, Galvez said there is equitable distribution, based on the local government units' projected eligible population for the vaccination program.
The NCR receives the larger volume supply of vaccines as it has a huge target population and is highly susceptible to Covid-19 infection, followed by Region 4-A (Calabarzon), Region 3 (Central Luzon) 1.2 million doses, and Region 7 (Central Visayas).
"Very fair po ang ginagawa po natin sa distribution. It is based on the targeted population and also it is based 'yung sa mga priority targets po natin na mga sector (We are very fair in our vaccine distribution. It is based on the targeted population and also it is based on the priority targets per sector)," he said.
Following the arrival of 3.2 million doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines, through the US-COVAX donation sharing agreement, Galvez said the municipalities of Tawi-Tawi and Basilan were each provided with 30,000 doses on Monday from the 300,000 doses for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Also on Monday, the Department of Health-10 received 26,660 doses of the J&J jabs at the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental.
"We will support (areas with Delta variants) so that we can have immediate protection as soon as possible because this is a race against time and we wanted that while the Delta variant is mutating, we are now vaccinating the vulnerable," Galvez said.
He told Gingoog City Mayor Erick Cañosa they could modify some policies from the omnibus quarantine guidelines to balance observing public health standards and economic activities.
At least one Delta variant case has been confirmed in Gingoog City.
"You (Cañosa) know best for your constituents," Galvez told the mayor during the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (Code) Team meeting on Monday, also attended by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno, and health officials of the two cities.
Galvez said the NTF is set to visit General Santos City to inspect the status of its border control measures and vaccination program.
He cited the possible entry of the Delta variant in the city since it is frequently visited by fishermen from Indonesia and Malaysia. (With a report from Ercel Maandig/PNA)

Last Modified: 2021-Jul-22 18.49.54 UTC+0800