Exactly five months since the inoculation program began, only 12.87 percent out of the more than 70 million targeted eligible population have so far been fully vaccinated, raising questions if the national government can achieve its goal of achieving herd immunity by the end of 2021.
In a Cabinet briefing with President Duterte Monday night, August 2, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. reported that a total of 9,115,963 Filipinos have been fully vaccinated from March 1 to August 1.
“Now we have 9.1 [million] Filipinos [who] are fully vaccinated, which represents 12.87 percent of the targeted eligible population,” Galvez said.
The number also represented 8.21 percent of the total 110 million total population in the country, he added.
Aside from this, a total of 11,747,581 Filipinos have received their first dose, offering them a partial protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
For the A1 priority sector, 1.57 million healthcare workers have been fully vaccinated out of the target 1.7 million eligible population. The government missed its target of 100 percent vaccination of medical frontliners by April.
For the A2 category, 2.62 million senior citizens were fully vaccinated out of the total 9.8 million eligible population. For A3, 3.33 million people with co-morbidities were fully vaccinated out of five million eligible population.
A total of 1.30 million economic frontliners and essential workers were fully vaccinated out of the 35 million eligible population in the A4 category; and 304,616 indigent population were fully jabbed out of 8.5 million eligible population in the A5 category.
The inoculation of the general public was initially seen by June or July, Galvez had said back in May, but the government also missed this target.
The government is aiming to vaccinate 70 million Filipinos by year-end to achieve herd immunity, a form of indirect protection when a sufficient percentage of the population becomes immune to an infectious disease.
In the so-called “NCR Plus Eight,” which groups National Capital Region (NCR) with eight other areas namely Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Pampanga, Batangas, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao, herd immunity is targeted to be achieved by November 27.
These areas were considered as “priorities” in the vaccination program since it is where the highest incidence of COVID-19 infections are being recorded and majority of the country’s economic activities are located there.
However, the rate of vaccination has been raising questions if the government can achieve its goal to reach herd immunity this year.
Even Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III was quoted as saying last month that herd immunity may be achieved “by January 2022 at most.”
To meet its target of achieving herd immunity this year, Galvez said they will try to vaccinate 700,000 individuals daily or 4.9 million weekly for the month of August.
Currently, the government has been inoculating an average of 523,018 doses daily, with 3,661,123 doses administered last week.