March 09, 2021
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 9) — Health protocols should continue to be practiced and enforced even as the COVID-19 vaccination program rolls out nationwide, an official from the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.
Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO Representative to the Philippines, noted instances where a nation has vaccinated a significant number of its population but continue to record spikes in new infections. He said this is because these countries loosened quarantine and minimum health protocols as they held their inoculation drives.
"We need to make every effort to rollout the vaccine as quickly as possible... That needs to be accompanied with continuing adherence to protocols because if we don't do that, we see surges. Let's learn from that global experience and not make the same mistake," he told a media briefing.
The WHO official cited Israel was successfully able to bring down severe cases and COVID-related deaths by 90% after they vaccinated their healthcare workers, elderlies, and people with other serious ailments.
Abeyasinge said the Philippines is set to receive 117,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines by late March or early April through the COVAX facility after the government completed most of the requirements of the American pharmaceutical company. He added an additional 4.5 million additional doses of AstraZeneca vaccines will be delivered to the country by April or May.
The Philippines has so far received a total of 1,125,600 doses of the Sinovac and AstraZeneca brands, which were donations from China and a number of European nations through COVAX.