Vaccinate anyone who wants a COVID shot, says Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte ordered his government on Wednesday night to open the coronavirus vaccination campaign to anyone who wants a shot as his country scrambles to protect the population from more transmissible variants.
With only 6% of the Philippines’ 110 million people fully vaccinated against COVID-19, millions remain vulnerable to infection. The government is aiming to fully immunise up to 70 million people before the year ends.
“Give the vaccines to those who want to be vaccinated,” Duterte said in a late-night address, expressing concern over the contagious Delta variant, which is ripping through Southeast Asia, now a global epicenter for the virus.
It was not immediately clear if his directive meant that the vaccines could now be given to Filipinos not included in the government’s priority groups.
Given limited supplies, it is prioritizing healthcare workers, elderly, people with existing medical conditions and working age adults.
The country has so far reported 119 cases of the Delta variant, first detected in India, but health experts say there could be more undetected cases because of the slow pace of the country’s genome sequencing capacity.
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