MANILA — The official leading the Philippine COVID-19 vaccination drive on Tuesday asked the public for more patience, after limited jabs hampered immunization efforts in some areas. 
Vaccine deliveries are typically delayed during the first and last weeks of the month, when manufacturers prepare for deployment and update stock inventory, respectively, said Carlito Galvez Jr, chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19. 
“Humihingi po kami ng pasensiya na hindi po natin mapigilan ang delay ng deliveries na nakapag-slow down sa ating rollout,” said Galvez, a former military official who serves as vaccine “czar”. 
(We are asking for patience because we cannot avoid delays in the deliveries, which slow our rollout.)
“Napakahirap po ng supply during the first week and last week of the month,” he said in a taped late night briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte. 
(The supply is very tight during the first and last week of the month.)
The Philippines expects to receive some 30 million coronavirus vaccine doses from July to August, Galvez said in the same briefing. 
Authorities have taken delivery of some 17.4 million COVID-19 shots, at least 12 million of which have been administered, Galvez’s task force said on Tuesday. 
Low vaccine supply has forced some local governments to limit or suspend their inoculation drives. 
The Philippines aims to vaccinate at least 58 million of its 110 million people to contain the coronavirus outbreak and safely reopen the economy, which suffered its worst postwar slump last year, when the pandemic left businesses struggling and millions jobless. 
With some 1.4 million coronavirus infections, the Philippines has the second highest COVID-19 tally in Southeast Asia. Authorities are on guard against more infectious COVID-19 variants, which could drive an uptick in infections.