The Philippines may start vaccinating its general public against Covid-19 by October, President Rodrigo Duterte said in a televised address that aired on Tuesday.

“I’d like the people to know that we are studying the possibility of vaccinating the general adult population as early as October if there is a stable vaccine supply,” Duterte said.

As of Sept. 14, more than 17 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated.

The Philippines has received 56,794,130 Covid-19 vaccine doses.

The country’s inoculation program started in March.

Government officials are eyeing to vaccinate up to 90 percent of the Philippine population to achieve herd immunity.

The country has been focusing its vaccination efforts on Metro Manila and nearby provinces. However, more doses would be deployed to “surge areas,” or areas with high Covid-19 risk, according to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.

Duterte said poor Filipinos willing to get vaccinated should be prioritized over vaccine skeptics.

“Alam mo kasi, ‘yung mga iba in the far-flung areas also of the country outside of Metro Manila, there are a lot of Filipinos waiting to be vaccinated. And so doon sa kanila, in their respective jurisdictions, I would suggest that unahin muna ninyo ‘yung mga mahihirap, those who cannot really afford to be travelling back and forth,” he said.

“As a matter of fact, it would be nice of government to go to their places. Tutal alam naman natin ‘yang blighted areas eh. Many of
those ayaw o hindi o needs to be convinced that there is a vaccine available and it is good for them,” he added.

The Philippines has recorded 2,266,066 Covid-19 cases as of Sept. 14. John Ezekiel J. Hirro