The target for COVID-19 herd immunity in the Philippines may extend to January “at most”, according to Duque.
On Friday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that the target of reaching herd immunity against COVID-19 in the Philippines may extend to January 2022 “at the most”.
However, Duque said that “all these depends on the adequacy of the supply” although if 500,000 Filipinos will be vaccinated per day, vaccinating 70 million people for their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine will only take 140 days.
It must be noted that several COVID-19 vaccines required a four-week interval between the first and second dose while AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine required an interval of 12 weeks.
In order to achieve herd immunity in the country, around 70% of the population should be inoculated.
“So more or less matatapos mo ng mga November to December. At the most pwedeng umabot hanggang January. Again, all of these depends on the adequacy of the supply,” Duque told ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
Duque added that supply from some COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers faced delays because of logistical issues.
Earlier, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr said that the country may reach its benchmark for herd immunity with 58 million to 70 million of the population receiving full doses of COVID-19 vaccine by November.
Duque also said that the country was nearing its target of vaccinating 500,000 Filipinos per day after it reached 350,000 vaccinations on Wednesday.
The Philippines was expecting to receive more than 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for the month of June and another 11.67 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in July.
According to Galvez, 25% of the incoming COVID-19 vaccine doses for the rest of the month will each go to Visayas and Mindanao.
While the Philippines had yet to achieve herd immunity, Duque reiterated the national government’s call on local government units (LGUs) to implement public health protocols and encouraged hospitals to continue converting isolation beds to intensive care unit beds in order to help save those with severe and critical cases of COVID-19.
“Ang akin lang paalala sa mga pamahalaang lokal, mayors, governors, siguraduhin po natin na hindi tayo nagluluwag kasi ng ating pagtalima sa minimum public health standards. Ang problema, nag-GCQ ‘yung iba tapos nag-MGCQ, nagluwagan naman ang pagsunod, nawala ang disiplinadong pagsunod sa minimum public health standards. Ang laban na ito ay nakasalalay sa bawat Pilipino, bawat indibidwal. Hindi naman ‘yung parang wala tayong laban. May laban tayo dito,” Duque said.
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