DOH: Herd immunity may be attained by end of 2021 or early next year

Published June 25, 2021, 5:59 PM

by Analou de Vera

The Department of Health (DOH) said that the country’s target of achieving herd immunity against COVID-19 may be reached by the end of 2021 or early next year.


However, this goal is still dependent on the country’s vaccine supply.

To achieve this goal, the Philippines need to vaccinate 500,000 people per day. Right now, the country has achieved 350,000 vaccinations daily, said DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III over ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo on Friday, June 25.

The national government aims to vaccinate 70 percent of the country’s population by the end of 2021.

If the country is able to vaccinate 500,000 people daily, it will take about 140 days to administer the first dose for at least 70 million Filipinos, said Duque.

The Health chief noted that the interval between the two doses of COVID-19 vaccines takes about 28 days to 12 weeks.

“So more or less matatapos mo mga November to December. At the most, pwedeng umabot ng January (So more or less you will finish this by November to December. At the most, it can be until January). Again all of these depend on adequacy of the supply,” said Duque.

‘Plus 10’ areas

Ten areas that have reported a surge in COVID-19 cases will receive additional supply of vaccines, said Duque.

The Malacañang announced on Thursday, June 24, that the areas of Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Baguio, Zamboanga, Dumaguete, Tuguegarao, General Santos, Naga, and Legaspi will also be prioritized in the COVID-19 vaccination program.

“We’re looking at about 25 to 30 percent each for the Visayas and Mindanao. Iyan ang magiging range ng support natin (That will be the range of our support),” he said.

“But, of course, magbabago pa rin iyan kasi depende nga sa metrics—yung (But, of course, that will still change because it depends on the metrics —the) average daily attack rate, health care utilization rate, especially the ICU bed utilization rate,” he added.

Initially, the National Capital Region (NCR)-plus 8 or Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Batangas, Rizal, Bulacan, Metro Davao, and Metro Cebu were the priority for the vaccination.

“Ngayon nasa low risk na ang NCR-plus, nire-recalibrate natin na doon naman sa nagkakaroon ng surge dinadala natin ang mas maraming bakuna (Now that NCR-plus is at low risk, we are recalibrating the supply on areas experiencing a surge in cases. We are giving more vaccines to them),” he said.

“Pero hindi ibig sabihin, ititigil mo ang pagbabakuna sa NCR. Sinasabi lang natin, maglalagay tayo ng dagdag doon sa mga lugar with surge. (But that doesn’t mean we will stop vaccinating in NCR. What we are saying, we’re going to put more supplies in those areas with a surge),” he added.