MANILA - The Philippines is now classified as "low risk" for COVID-19 cases due to wide vaccination coverage, the Department of Health said Friday.
Government has fully vaccinated some 62.2 million individuals, while 61.5 million have received an initial dose, and 9.5 million booster shots have been administered as of Thursday.
Some 2,666,272 jabs were administered during the third round of the Bayanihan Bakunahan Program, which ends Friday, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
Of the total figure, 551,392 were first doses, 1,082,916 were second doses, and 684,267 were booster shots, she said.
Some 329,000 children ages 5 to 11, meantime, have received a COVID-19 jab in 482 vaccination sites nationwide, Vergeire added.
"Lubhang nakakatulong po ang mga programang Resbakuna Kids at Bayanihan Bakunahan 3 sa ating pag-shift sa low risk case classification dahil sa patuloy na pagtaas ng ating vaccination rate," she told reporters.
(The programs Resbakuna Kids and Bayanihan Bakunahan 3 have greatly helped in our shifting to low risk case classification due to the continuous rise of our vaccination rate.)
"Habang mas dumarami na po ang protektadong Pilipino, tayo ay kalagiang naninigurado na ligtas ang pagbubukas ng ekonomiya."
(As more Filipinos are protected, we will always ensure that the reopening of the economy is safe.)
All regions in the country except the Cordilleras and Davao region are under a "low risk" case classification and all regions have a negative 2-week growth rate, Vergeire said. The healthcare capacity of all regions except Davao also have a "low risk" classification, she added.
The public is urged to get their booster shots even after contracting COVID-19 as there are no studies on how long natural immunity will last, the spokesperson said.
Individuals aged 18 and above are eligible for booster shots after 3 months of their second dose if their primary series was Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Pfizer, Moderna, Gamaleya Sputnik V, according to Vergeire. Those inoculated with single-dose Janssen can get their additional dose after 2 months, she said.
"Hindi po tayo (We're not) certain as to when our natural immunity will last. Ang iba po (For some it) will only last 1 month, ang iba (for some) will take months," Vergeire said.