MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is looking to achieve herd immunity against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other areas by November this year, an official from the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.
During the Laging Handa public briefing, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said they are now eyeing to vaccinate more than 100,000 individuals per day to attain herd immunity in the NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Batangas, Pampanga, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao areas when the vaccine supply becomes stable.
These areas are considered COVID-19 hotspots.
“Ang tina-target natin ay by November at least for the ‘NCR plus 8,’ because we still depend on the steady supply of the vaccine,” she said.
Cabotaje said the country is still dependent on the global supply of vaccine but they are optimistic that more shots will arrive in the coming months.
“According sa announcement ni Sec. (Carlito) Galvez (Jr.), 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.
The Philippines has so far received 7.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
Over 3.2 million of these doses have already been administered mostly to healthcare workers, senior citizens, and persons with co-morbidities since the government rolled out its vaccination program in March.
The government is also eyeing to open the inoculation to workers in essential industries and indigent people in the National Capital Region and other nearby province following calls from business groups and other sectors.
Cabotaje said they are also closely monitoring some areas in the Visayas and Mindanao due to reported upticks in COVID-19 cases.
She also disclosed that vaccine czar Galvez and testing czar Vince Dizon are set to fly to Zamboanga City to check on the COVID-19 situation there.
“Part of our strategy is to also give them additional vaccines to their regular allocation so they will be given protection,” she said.