Philippines ' Covid-19 cases total rises to 1, 359, 015 as govt secures deal for 40 million Pfizer vaccine

Corazon Abaya receives her first dose of Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) during a house to house vaccination, in Manila. - Reuters

MANILA, June 20 (Xinhua): The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported on Sunday 5, 803 new Covid-19 infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the South-East Asian country to 1, 359, 015.

The death toll climbed to 23, 621 after 84 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said.

The Philippines, which has more than 110 million population, has tested more than 13 million people since the outbreak in January 2020.

Carlito Galvez, the chief implementer of the government's measures to combat Covid-19, said Sunday that the government has administered over 8 million doses as of Friday.

The Philippines has fully inoculated more than 2 million so far since the rollout began on March 1. It aims to vaccinate up to 70 million people this year.

The government administered vaccines primarily to frontline healthcare workers, the elderly, and those with underlying medical conditions.

Last week, the government started inoculating frontline economic workers to bring the economy back on track.

The Philippines kicked off its vaccination drive a day after China delivered the first batch of Sinovac CoronaVac vaccines on Feb. 28.

"We are happy that the public uptake for Sinovac has also increased significantly," Galvez said, adding the steady supply of Sinovac allows the government to fast track the inoculation of essential economic workers.

Galvez said the Philippines "is now seeing an upward trajectory in the vaccination throughput across all priority groups."

"This is a very good indication that vaccine hesitancy is being addressed and more Filipinos, especially our senior citizens, are now willing to get inoculated," Galvez said.

The Philippine government has also signed a supply agreement for 40 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE in its biggest coronavirus vaccine deal to date.

Deliveries of the vaccine, among several brands of coronavirus shots allowed for emergency use in the South-East Asian country, will begin in late September, Galvez, head of the government's Covid-19 vaccine procurement, said on Sunday.

The Philippines last week started a programme to vaccinate 35 million people working outside their homes, while continuing to inoculate priority sectors such as healthcare workers and elderly citizens, hoping to achieve herd immunity this year. - Xinhua

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