THE Philippines has achieved another milestone in its national vaccination program, as over 54 million Filipinos, or more than 70 percent of the country’s target population, are now fully vaccinated amid the surge in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the country.

Based on data from the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) as of January 13, a total of 117,383,756 vaccine doses have been administered nationwide.

Of this number, 54,457,863 individuals are fully vaccinated, which is 70.60 percent of the nation’s target population.

National Task Force Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr. said this development is a testament to the National Government’s commitment to continue expanding the vaccine rollout across all sectors of society despite challenges caused by the surge in cases and the onslaught of tropical cyclone Odette in December.

“Malaki ang naging epekto ng Bagyong Odette sa ating pagbabakuna kaya bahagyang naantala ang pag-abot sa target nating 54 million fully vaccinated individuals sa pagtatapos ng 2021. Sinabayan pa ito ng panibagong surge ngayong Enero, pero hindi tayo tumigil sa pagbabakuna. Tinulungan natin ang ating mga local government units na pataasin ang kanilang vaccination throughput sa maraming lugar na hindi pa gaanong apektado ng surge kaya mataas pa rin ang ating output nitong mga nakalipas na araw,” Galvez said.

Typhoon Odette wrought havoc to at least six regions in the Visayas and Mindanao, cutting off vital power and water supplies, which consequently affected the vaccination drive of local government units.

Despite logistical limitations and the ongoing surge of infections due to the Omicron variant, the country’s average daily jab rate still reached 1.04 million over the past three days.

The national government aims to fully vaccinate at least 77 million Filipinos in the first quarter of this year, and inoculate 90 million by the end of the second quarter.

As of January 13, six regions in the country have already surpassed the 70 percent mark in terms of fully vaccinated individuals.

As of January 13, six regions in the country have already surpassed the 70 percent mark in terms of fully vaccinated individuals.

These include Metro Manila (109.07 percent), Cordillera Administrative Region (78.43 percent), Ilocos Region (78.17 percent), Cagayan Valley (74.93 percent), Central Luzon (75.74 percent) and Calabarzon (71.92 percent).

Meanwhile, Galvez enjoined all local government units to continue strengthening their vaccination strategies in order to vaccinate as many Filipinos as soon as possible in light of the exponential increase in Covid-19 cases.

“This current Omicron surge will target the unvaccinated. Sa lahat ng ating mga LGU, gawin natin ang lahat ng ating makakaya para mahikayat ang ating mga mamamayan na magpabakuna na para makaiwas sa severe cases, pagkaospital o pagkamatay,” Galvez said.

“Let us prioritize the unvaccinated individuals who belong to the vulnerable sectors, while also ramping up the administration of booster shots for eligible individuals,” he added.

As of January 14, a total of 4,415,333 individuals have already received their booster or additional doses.

The vaccine czar earlier said that around three million senior citizens who remain unvaccinated should be prioritized in the vaccination program as they are more prone to hospitalization and death.

Galvez also emphasized that there should be no let up in the vaccination campaign, especially now that the country is battling its worst surge yet.

“Our LGUs must really double up their efforts in fighting this surge, lalo na doon sa mga hindi pa gaanong apektado ng pagtaas ng mga kaso,” Galvez said.

“Marami tayong supply ng bakuna kaya dapat ay maiturok agad natin ito sa ating mga kababayan para mas marami ang maging protektado laban sa Omicron at iba pang variants ng Covid-19,” he added.

The Philippines has already received 213,655,520 doses of Covid-19 vaccines from various manufacturers.

Over 96 million doses are currently stocked in warehouses, ready to be deployed to LGUs throughout the country.