The government is fully committed to vaccinate all qualified Filipinos against Covid-19 despite the challenges it has to face, National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said.
He issued the statement following the report of the World Bank that the country's mass inoculation program "continued to lag."
Galvez said that several external factors limited the government's ability to maximize its partnerships with local government units and the private sector which consequently slowed down vaccination efforts.
Among them was the onslaught of Typhoon Odette in Visayas and Mindanao and the coming elections.
"We also need to take note that factors affecting a nation's vaccination program vary from country to country. Many of our neighbors in the region do not share the same challenges that we have, such as our country's unique geographical landscape being an archipelago of around 7,640 islands wherein delivering the vaccines to far-flung communities can be a major logistical challenge, or being frequently hit by typhoons which leave behind a swath of destruction in their aftermath," Galvez said in a statement.
He added that the Philippines "already learned its lessons from previous surges such as the one caused by the Delta variant" while also assuring that the country's health care system is now more prepared and better equipped to respond to such surges.
"Rest assured that the national government will continue to find better and more efficient ways to improve our vaccination program so that we can get the COVID-19 jab into the arms of as many Filipinos as possible at the soonest possible time, put an end to the pandemic, and revive our nation's economy," Galvez said.