Experts of the OCTA Research Team on Wednesday, April 14, urged the government to focus the limited supply of vaccines to areas with high coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, particularly Metro Manila and Calabarzon.
“We are going to submit this week our own vaccine model. In a nutshell, what we are basically saying is this–let’s focus on the limited supply in NCR (National Capital Region). Let’s use risk-based approach, meaning healthcare workers, elderly, co-morbidities first,” OCTA Research fellow Prof. Ranjit Rye said in an ANC interview.
“The added layer is that let’s start focusing on spaces that means the NCR, Calabarzon where the majority of the cases are. If we do this we might not achieve herd immunity but we will achieve a situation of decline in cases and a possibility, a very good basis for opening up the economy,” he added.
The group supports the risk-based approach for the allocation of vaccines but with the scarcity of vaccines and growing clamor to reopen the economy, Rye said the government may want to “reallocate spaces.”
“The other regions may complain but the argument here is we believe that the pandemic is a snake in the country the head is in the NCR and Calabarzon, so if you cut off the head we believe that it will have an impact on the overall war against COVID,” he explained.
While the COVID-19 reproduction number is going down, Rye said: “We are not yet where we’re supposed to be. We’re still not yet out of the woods. And the surge is still with us.”
“The MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) slows down the process of bringing the R (reproduction number) down to less than 1. If we had an ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) this week, it should be down by Sunday this week to less than 1. But because we decided to go MECQ, it will take us two weeks to bring it down to less than 1,” he explained.
Rye noted new cases of COVID-19 remain high, with the country reporting an average of 10,000 cases per day, including the about 5,000 daily cases in Metro Manila.
“We’re hoping that this week we’ll see some trends to see if the MECQ is working. We envisioned a stricter MECQ but what we’re getting now is a more liberal version of the MECQ and we’re hoping that with all our collective efforts it will go down,” he said.
“If it doesn’t work, let’s go back. Let’s have a frank conversation about going back to ECQ,” he added.