Herd Immunity for PH This Year? 'We Can Do It,' Says Vaccine Czar

'Not impossible,' Galvez says.
Photo/s: Jerome Ascaño

The Philippines can achieve herd immunity against COVID-19 by November as long as authorities manage the arrival of vaccines despite short supply, the country's immunization czar said in taped remarks aired Tuesday.

Under a "grand preparation" to achieve herd immunity, some 500,000 people must be vaccinated daily, that's around three million per week. In Metro Manila alone, 120,000 must be vaccinated daily, Sec. Carlito Galvez said.

Vaccine supply must reach 15 million doses per month, while vaccination sites must reach 5,000 with at least 100 jabs per day each, he said.

"Makikita po sa simulation natin na kaya pong gawin, Mr. President. Hindi po imposible, kaya po natin," Galvez said.

Duterte urged the public to get vaccinated regardless of the brand.

"Any of the vaccines available, they are all potent, they are all effective. There's no reason for you to be choosy about it," he said.

The Philippines needs to vaccinate 50 to 70 million people this year to achieve herd immunity, Health Sec. Francisco Duque earlier said. The original goal was to achieve it by Christmas.

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Galvez said the vaccine rollout for A4 (government employees and economic frontliners) and A5 (indigent population) must start within May to achieve herd containment, or at least 25 million vaccinated, by third quarter of the year.

"Lalakihan natin ang embudo. Lalakihan natin ang net para ang ating target population lumaki," Galvez told Duterte in a Cabinet meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night, aired on Tuesday morning. The government eyes herd immunity in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao and six other provinces before December.

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