'We can have a better normal soon': Nograles says vaccination critical to pandemic endgame

The Philippines could attain a "better normal soon" as the government continued to implement its vaccination program to boost protection against the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.


Nograles has expressed confidence about the country's imminent return to normalcy, citing that more vaccine supplies are being secured by the government in line with its goal to attain herd immunity.

"Ultimately critical in the endgame will be the government’s national vaccine deployment plan, which is now in its initial phases," Nograles told the Manila Bulletin.

"With more vaccines on the way and our LGUs already standing by to roll these out, we are confident that we can have a better normal soon," he added.

As of March 13, Nograles said 193,492 people have received the coronavirus vaccines under the government's immunization drive. Almost 90 percent of the vaccine stocks have been distributed to vaccine centers.

"A total of 1,011,520 out of 1,125,600 doses (89.86%) have been distributed to 929 vaccination sites in 17 regions that are now up and running and administering the vaccines," he said.

Nograles also expressed confidence the country could attain herd immunity despite being an archipelago. After the pandemic resulted in loss of lives and livelihood, the government plans to give free inoculations to 70 million Filipinos, prioritizing health workers, seniors, poor citizens, and essential frontliners, to enhance their protection against COVID-19.

Herd immunity occurs when a large percent of the population becomes protected against infection.

"Kahit archipelago tayo, kaya natin magka-herd (Although we are an archipelago, we can attain herd) community as our government infrastructure has long been able to address the challenges of our country’s geography," Nograles said.

"In the past it has not prevented the government from conducting the mass vaccination of our children against diseases like polio or measles, so we believe we can duplicate this––albeit, on an unprecedented, much grander scale––with the COVID-19 vaccines," he added.