DoH: 50-percent booster coverage target ‘impossible’

The Department of Health on Tuesday said that the 50 percent booster coverage set by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for his first 100 days in office is “impossible” to reach.

In a media briefing, Health Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said that since the launch of the PinasLakas Covid-19 vaccination program last 26 July, the government has been able to inoculate 2.7 million Filipinos with first booster shots, or equivalent to 11.3 percent of the total target.

Marcos had announced in the first days of his administration that the government is aiming to achieve a 50-percent first booster coverage nationwide, or 23 million individuals up for booster uptake by the end of his first 100 days in office on 8 October.

“Looking at that, if we have 23 million, you remove the 2.7 million, we have around 20 million to achieve by 8 October, and that is really impossible,” Vergeire said.

The official said that they had already informed the President regarding the low booster uptake and that the agency would revise the initial target to reach at least 30 percent of the target of 23 million.

“We said that we will be doing it in phases. Now, we have a total of 18.8 million people that have received their first booster shot. This is about 24 percent of our eligible population,” she said.

“We need to get at least 6 percent more so that we reach 30 percent for the first booster shot by 8 October,” she added.

‘Only 3 deaths per day’

Meanwhile, Vergeire reported that the country has recorded an average of only three Covid-19 deaths per day this month so far, lower compared to the 17 fatalities per day in August.

However, she noted that this might not reflect in the reported fatalities in the weekly Covid-19 case bulletin due to delays in reporting.

“We have been transparent on this, we tell you that there are delays in our reporting of deaths because deaths are still being validated on the ground,” she said.

“Our case fatality up until now is still 1.6 percent. It never went over 2 percent, we are able to keep the deaths in our country at that minimum,” she added.

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