Israeli experts to visit PH, share best practices on COVID-19 response

Published June 15, 2021, 6:43 AM

by Martin Sadongdong

Experts from Israel will visit the country this month to share their best practices on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response, including vaccine deployment.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. presents updates on the Philippines’ COVID-19 vaccination program during President Duterte’s public address on June 14, 2021. (Screenshot courtesy of PTV livestream)

During President Duterte’s pre-recorded public address on Monday night, June 14, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the foreign experts’ visit will take place on June 20 to 25.

“Israel experts will visit the Philippines on June 20 to 25 to share their best experience on the vaccine deployment,” he said.

Israel is among the countries that have successfully vaccinated a majority of its population at a quick pace.

Figures from international monitoring website “Our World in Data” showed that as of June 13, Israel has fully vaccinated 59.43 percent of its population, while 3.87 percent have received their first dose.

“Real world data reveals that vaccines really work. We have shown what happened to Israel, United Kingdom, and United States. There is a steep decline in their cases and they opened up their economies,” Galvez said.

“Based on some scholarly publications, vaccine really prevents death, hospitalization, severe cases, and even to some extent transmission,” he added.

In the Philippines, the government is aiming to vaccinate around 70 million out of the total 107 million population by the end of the year to achieve herd immunity.

But the country is far from achieving this target. According to Our World in Data, the country has only fully vaccinated 1.6 percent of its total population, which translates to 1.68 million Filipinos as of June 8.

Meanwhile, about 4.3 percent or 4.6 million Filipinos have received their first dose, it added.

The data has seen little improvement since then.

As of June 13, Galvez said a total of 6.9 million doses were already administered by the government — 5.06 million were given their first dose, while 1.87 million have been fully vaccinated.

He further claimed the data represents “6.48 percent of our population.”

He said the focus of the government’s strategy is to achieve “population protection” in the “NCR-plus 8”, which consists of the National Capital Region (NCR), Pampanga, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Batangas, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao.

Population protection means reducing the number of deaths and hospitalizations through vaccination, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

The areas in the NCR-plus 8–all located in Luzon–are prioritized because they have the highest cases and attack rate, and have the biggest impact on the economy.

Galvez said that once the government achieves the 30 to 50 percent vaccine threshold in these areas, the nationwide COVID-19 cases will start to plateau.

However, the government is also dealing with a shift in COVID-19 surge, as cases have started to rise in some areas in Visayas and Mindanao.

 
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