Herd immunity in 2021 a ‘big challenge’ with just 3.2% fully vaccinated so far

MANILA, Philippines — Over 3.5 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 since the government launched its inoculation campaign in March, the latest figures from the National Task Force Against COVID-19 show. 

This is equivalent to 3.2% of the Philippines’ total 109 million population as of 2020.

Another 9.66 million — or 8.8% — of Filipinos have received the first of two doses as of July 11.

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“We have some good news, the Philippines breached the 13-million mark [of total vaccines administered] in four days’ time after it breache[d] [the] 12-million mark despite some delay on deliveries last June and [the] first week of July,” NTF chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. told the government’s pandemic task force in a pre-recorded meeting aired Monday night. 

According to Galvez, the government’s “total target population for vaccination is 77,746,906” to achieve herd immunity.

But of this target population, Galvez said only 4.54% have been fully vaccinated while another 12.44% have received just their first dose. 

“[N]apakalaki po ng atin pong challenge na makuha ‘yung herd immunity by end of the year (It will be very challenging to reach herd immunity by the end of the year),” he said. 

Galvez: 11M more vaccines coming this month 

Metro Manila cities recently slowed their vaccine rollouts due to dwindling supply but 3.32 million AstraZeneca vaccines donated by Japan and the COVAX facility have arrived since then, along with 170,000 Sputnik V shots.

Another 11 million vaccines are expected to arrive this month, according to Galvez.

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“This week, we expect 2.5 million doses of Sinovac to arrive. And what the private sector and LGUs are looking forward to is the 1.17 [million] doses of AstraZeneca that they bought,” Galvez said in Filipino. 

“We are also looking forward to the arrival of 3,239,400 vaccines from donation sharing by the US and then by COVAX,” he added.

The Philippines has the second-worst coronavirus outbreak in Southeast Asia, trailing behind Indonesia, with 1.47 million COVID-19 cases and 26,015 deaths as of Monday.

Reporting by Patricia Elise Monsod

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