OCTA Research on Wednesday, May 26, said that Metro Manila and eight other “high-risk” areas will be able to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by October if 250,000 vaccine doses per day will be administered in these areas.
Molecular biologist-priest Nicanor Austriaco, an OCTA Research fellow, explained that “containment” of COVID-19 will involve the vaccination of 40 percent to 50 percent of the population of the “NCR plus eight,” which include Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Pampanga, Batangas, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao.
“If the population of the NCR+8 is approximately 37 million, 45 percent of this is about 16.65 million people. For two doses per person, this is about 33.3 million doses,” Austriaco said in a virtual press briefing on Wednesday.
“At a rate of 250,000 doses per day, the NCR+8 will achieve containment of COVID-19 sometime in October. That means the risk for a surge is substantially diminished as we approach containment,” he pointed out.
Austriaco said the availability of vaccine doses will depend upon the national government’s decision to allocate a certain percentage of the national vaccine portfolio to be prioritized to the NCR+8.
According to the Department of Health, approximately 70 percent of the current vaccine supply is being allocated to the NCR+8.
If the government aims for herd immunity, Austriaco said that 70 percent of the population of NCR+8 should be vaccinated.
“This is every single adult in the NCR+8 because 30 percent or so of Filipinos are ineligible for vaccine at this time. This will be about 52 million doses,” he said.
“The target is to achieve herd immunity in the NCR+8 before Christmas then we should be vaccinating between 200,000 to 300,000 doses per day from June 1, 2021 to Nov. 30, 2021,” he explained.
Austriaco pointed out that by prioritizing the NCR+8 and building containment and herd immunity in these areas, “we more efficiently end the pandemic by optimizing deployment of scarce vaccines to give them maximum impact.”
“We cut off the head of the snake that feeds surges nationally and we build an immunity wall around our international ports of entry in Manila and in Cebu that protects us from novel variants,” he added.
He said that this approach will also help revitalize the economic engine, which should drive the economic recovery of the country.
“We accelerate the recovery of domestic tourism and we provide hope to the rest of the country,” he said.