(File photo)

MANILA – The national government has exceeded its target for the second phase of its simultaneous vaccination drive against Covid-19 with close to 7.5 million Filipinos inoculated against Covid-19 from December 15 to December 23, Malacañang announced Monday.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, acting presidential spokesperson, said a total of 7,497,802 doses were administered during the second “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” campaign, exceeding the initial target of 7,326,613 jabs despite the postponement of vaccination in provinces hit by Typhoon Odette.

"We thank our kababayans for their cooperation and for the steps they have taken to protect themselves, their families, and their communities. We likewise commend our medical front-liners, vaccinators, and volunteers for their sacrifice, dedication and service to the country,” he said in a press statement.

Citing government data, Nograles said Region 4-A (Calabarzon) recorded the highest number of cumulative jabs with 1,244,191, followed by Region 3 (Central Luzon) with 919,822, and Region 6 (Western Visayas) with 658,805 administered jabs.

Region 1 (Ilocos Region) recorded the highest percentage of jabs administered compared to its “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” phase 2 target, with 561,858 jabs or 277.84 percent of its 202,224 target jabs to be administered.

Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) followed, achieving 232.57 percent of their target, while Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) accomplished 173.27 percent of its phase 2 target.

Nograles renewed his call to those unvaccinated to get their jabs amid the threat of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of Covid-19.

"We must continue to be vigilant and alert by observing the minimum public health standards on top of getting vaccinated,” he added.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., National Task Force against Covid-19 chief implementer, assured that our vaccine supply is sufficient to achieve the government's target to fully vaccinate 77 million Filipinos by the first quarter of 2022.

Galvez added that the government's priority is still to vaccinate the unvaccinated, including the pediatric population.

Last week, Nograles enjoined local government units in areas not affected by “Odette” to ramp up their vaccination efforts by inoculating residents even on weekends.

“All local [vaccination operation centers] shall be provided with new targets to meet the goal of vaccinating 54 million and are enjoined to ramp up the administration of Covid-19 vaccines until December 31, 2021 including weekends,” Nograles said.

Vaccinations were temporarily halted on December 24 and 25 in consideration of Christmas celebrations.

The Philippines aims to fully vaccinate more than 54 million Filipinos by year-end. (PNA)