Philippines targets workers in next phase of COVID-19 vaccination hinh anh 1Philippines targets workers in next phase of COVID-19 vaccination . - Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The Philippines will launch a vaccination drive for around 35 million people working outside their homes, such as public transport staff, in a bid to curb COVID-19 transmission and gradually open up the economy.

The above plan is the next phase of the vaccination rollout that started in March, which initially targeted health care workers, senior citizens and people with existing health conditions.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said those eligible to join the new phase, including workers in the informal sector, will be able to register from June 9.

The Philippines has so far received more than nine million doses, mostly supplied by China’s Sinovac Biotech. However, the country is forecast to take a long time to reach its goal of inoculating 70 million people this year out of its population of 110 million.

The Southeast Asian country is also lagging some neighbours, with only 4.4 million people having received their first dose and more than 1.5 million two shots so far.

According to Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, expanding the vaccination campaign to more people will help accelerate the reopening of the economy.

The Philippines, which is battling one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Asia, has reported 1.27 million infections and almost 22,000 deaths./.