THE Philippines took delivery on Monday of more than 5 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer, Inc., according to the presidential palace.

The United States donated 4 million doses under a global initiative for equal access while the government bought the remaining 1.17 million doses, newly appointed presidential spokesman Jose Ruperto Martín M. Andanar told a televised news briefing on Tuesday.

The government had fully vaccinated 63.79 million people as of March 7, while 69.23 million people have received their first dose, he said. He added that 10.61 million booster shots have been injected.

He said 111,783 of kids aged 5 to 11 years and 8.62 million children aged 12 to 17 had been fully vaccinated. 

The government has partnered with the Philippine Medical Association and Philippine College of Occupational Medicine to expand COVID-19 vaccination to doctors’ clinics and workplace health facilities, Health Undersecretary Myrna C. Cabotaje told a separate televised news briefing.

The government will hold a fourth round of its vaccination drive on March 10 to 12. Ms. Cabotaje said the campaign aims to vaccinate 1.8 million people, particularly the elderly. Authorities would focus on giving out boosters to people aged 18 and above, she added.

She said the Philippines might donate coronavirus vaccines to Myanmar and African countries to boost their vaccination efforts, noting that the country had enough supply. “We have sufficient vaccines and some of their shelf life is nearing its expiry,” she said.   

The country has received 232.67 million doses since vaccine deliveries started in February last year.

Ms. Cabotaje said only a quarter of Filipinos in the Bangsamoro region have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. About a third have gotten their first shots, while a quarter have been fully vaccinated. 

The government has placed many parts of the country under the lowest virus alert level amid decreasing infections.

COVID-19 hospitalization rates in Metro Manila were plateauing, Health Undersecretary Leopoldo J. Vega told the briefing. He added that the country’s command center responsible for referring patients to hospitals had been receiving fewer calls. 

The Department of Health on Monday said 4,543 of 24,678 non-intensive care unit (ICU) beds had been used as of March 6, while 807 of 3,138 ICU beds were occupied. There were 1,055 severe and critical admissions as of March 6. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza