Gov't sticks to PH herd immunity goal by end-2021

The government is not walking away from its goal to attain herd immunity in the Philippines before the end of the year.

Senior citizens wait for their turn at a vaccination site in Sampaloc, Manila on May 25, 2021.(Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

As more coronavirus vaccines are expected to arrive in the coming weeks, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government is determined to vaccinate 58 million Filipinos to reach "population protection" before 2021 ends.

Roque made the explanation after the government bared plans to vaccinate 9.7 million people in Metro Manila by late November.

"Hindi po nabago (It has not changed)," he said during a televised press briefing Tuesday, May 25 when asked about the government's nationwide herd immunity goal.

"Ang sinasabi natin November 27 nga po iyong target natin for population protection sa Metro Manila (We're saying that November 27 will be our target for population protection in Metro Manila) but we’re still aiming na 58 million nationwide before end of the year," he added.

The government recently set a vaccination target in Metro Manila, which has a population of more than 13 million, recognizing it is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Of the 1.18 million coronavirus cases recorded across the country, Metro Manila has tallied 496,769 cases as of May 25. More than 7,000 people in Metro Manila have died from the illness.

READ: Gov't targets COVID-19 jabs for 9.7 million in NCR by November 2021

"May kinalaman lang po iyan doon sa katotohanan na ang majority of the cases ay nasa Metro Manila Plus (It has something to do with the truth that majority of the cases are in Metro Manila Plus)," Roque said.

"At kaya nga po bagama’t kalahati ng supplies ng ating bakuna ay makakarating pa rin all over the country, mahigit-kumulang kalahati ay ibubuhos natin dito sa Metro Manila Plus kasama po ang Cebu at ang Davao (And although half of the vaccines will reach all over the country, approximately half of the supplies will go to Metro Manila Plus, Cebu and Davao)," he added.

Out of the 8 million COVID-19 vaccine supply, the government has so far administered more than 4 million doses, initially to health workers, senior citizens, and people with comorbidity. The vaccination number represented 2.9 percent of the country’s population received the first dose while 0.9 percent have been fully vaccinated.

The vaccination of the country's essential workers and the indigent population is set to begin next month.

READ: COVID-19 vaccination for domestic workers to start in June