MANILA - The Philippines expects to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19 in Metro Manila and 8 other areas by November, a Health official said Wednesday.
The Department of Health (DOH) is pushing to vaccinate at least 108,000 people a day in the National Capital Region, Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Rizal, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao as more shots arrive, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje told state television PTV.
"Ang tina-target natin ay by November at least for the NCR plus," she said when asked when the Philippines expects to attain herd immunity against the disease that has infected at least 1.1 million people in the country.
(We are targeting by November at least for the NCR plus.)
The Philippines remains dependent on the global supply of COVID-19 jabs, but the DOH is optimistic as more vaccines are expected to arrive in the second half of the year, she said.
"We will receive about 10 to 11 million doses ng June, July, August so more or less steady 'yan so we will be able to reach a lot of vaccinees especially in the NCR plus areas," she said.
Since March, the country's vaccination program has been limited to health frontliners, senior citizens and persons with comorbidities due to the low supply of vaccines.
The government is eyeing to open the inoculation program to workers in essential industries and indigent people in the capital region and nearby provinces, Cabotaje said.
"Ico-concentrate natin sa geographic areas kung saan nandoon 'yung surge ng cases," she said.
(We will concentrate the vaccination in geographic areas where there is a surge in cases.)
Cabotaje said the government is also closely monitoring some areas in the Visayas and Mindanao that have been reporting an increase in fresh COVID-19 cases.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez and Testing czar Vince Dizon are set to fly to Zamboanga to check the reason behind the surge of cases in the area, she said.
"Part of our strategy is also to give them additional vaccines [on top of] their regular allocation so that they will be given additional protection," she said.
The national government earlier said it hopes to vaccinate at least 50 million people this year to achieve her immunity nationwide.
So far, the Philippines has fully inoculated 786,000 people, with 2.51 million still waiting to receive their second dose, while the rest of the country's population has yet to be jabbed.
Video courtesy of PTV