MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said Metro Manila can attain population protection against COVID-19 by November this year.
The DOH earlier said it is "shifting to the term 'population protection' through mass immunization" as more criteria have to be met to attain "herd immunity" against the disease.
"Based from the speed or the scale of what we are doing in our vaccination in the (National Capital Region), may posibilidad na ma-achieve natin 'yung population protection [in the region]," Health spokesperson and Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online briefing.
"Aside from having this certain percentage of vaccinated individuals, kailangan masiguro natin na yung mga seniors and mga may comorbidities ay na-achieve din natin yung target numbers," she added.
(Aside from having this certain percentage of vaccinated individuals, we need to ensure that we would also achieve the target number of vaccinated senior citizens and persons with comorbidities.)
Herd immunity is achieved once 70 percent of the population is vaccinated, while population protection is attained when vulnerable individuals - like the elderly and persons with comorbidities - are vaccinated against COVID-19.
The DOH has yet to release recent data on the number of vaccinated individuals in the capital region. But as of July 4, only 788,630 senior citizens have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 nationwide, while 897,719 persons with comorbidities have received their second dose of the vaccine.