DOH aims to achieve ‘population protection’ in NCR+8 by end of 2021

Published June 11, 2021, 8:25 PM

by Analou de Vera

Manila Bulletin File Photo

The Department of Health (DOH) said that it aims at achieving “population protection” in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus 8 by the end of this year.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said, however, that this goal still depends on the country’s vaccine supply.

“For NCR Plus 8, ito po yung ating ini-estima na (our estimate) hopefully, by the end of the year we will be able to achieve this, depending on the supplies that will come in,” she said on Friday, June 11.

The NCR Plus 8 are composed of Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Rizal.

According to Vergeire, population protection focuses on “specific areas that will give us more impact in vaccinating.”

“Itong (This) population protection also speaks of, here in the country, being able to vaccinate those most vulnerable because once you protect or once you vaccinate those most vulnerable–the healthcare workers, the senior citizens, and also those with comorbidities, you get to see the reduction in hospitalizations and deaths,” said Vergeire.

The Health official said that the country’s long-term goal is achieving “herd immunity.”

“Herd immunity is a long-term goal or a goal of every nation. Iyan yung gusto ng mga bansa (That is what the nations want) so that we can be able to have this immunity for our population. But right now, we are targeting the population protection,” she said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defined herd immunity as “the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection.”

Community quarantine classification in NCR Plus

Vergeire, meanwhile, said that the government is still studying if the NCR Plus bubble, which is currently under the general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions, will be shifted to normal GCQ starting June 16.

“Kailangan natin pag-aralan maigi ito…Sa ngayon kailangan i-monitor natin closely kung ano ang nangyayari (We need to study this carefully … Right now we need to monitor closely what is happening [in these areas]),” said Vergeire.

“Kailangan natin tingnan yung mga parameters na ginagamit natin. Ang parameters na ginagamit natin para tayo ay makapag-de-escalate would be the number of cases and kailangan makita natin na yung PDITR (Prevent, Detect, Isolate, ​Treat, Reintegrate) response ng local government ay kakayanin kung sakaling tumaas uli ang kaso nila (We need to look at the parameters. The parameters we use for us to de-escalate would be the number of cases and we need to see that the PDITR response of the local governments will be able to cope if ever their cases rise again),” she added.