PH expert panel says national immunization coverage ‘still relatively low’ at 22%

Published October 13, 2021, 10:06 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The country’s Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) said Wednesday, Oct. 13, the national immunization coverage was “still relatively low.”


VEP chairperson Dr. Nina Gloriani said as of Oct. 10, the Philippines has so far administered close to 50 million doses of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines.

She said of the total administered jabs, 26,486,522 were given as the first dose and a total of 23,186,969 individuals completed the second dose and single dose vaccines like Janssen.

“That immunization coverage, while we are seeing this increase in the immunization coverage, that is still relatively low compared to our targets,” Gloria said during a webinar hosted by the Philippine Normal University (PNU) in partnership with the Philippine Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology on Wednesday.

The webinar zeroed in on “COVID-19 Vaccine Policies and Future Directions: Forecasting Vaccines Needs for the Philippines and the World.”

The Philippines aims to fully vaccinate 70 percent of the country’s population.

“Ano ba ang target natin? (What is our target?) Sana 70 percent (We want 70 percent), but this was based on the R-naught of 2.5 before. With the Delta variant, tumaas na yan (it has increased). But still we have to be realistic. Right now, this is October, we have the national immunization coverage still low at 22 percent,” Gloriani said.

The R-naught or the reproduction number indicates the possible number of people being infected by a sick person.

“With the low immunization coverage, with the Delta variant, with people not wanting, forgetting to practice minimum public health standards, we see transmissions still going on. Actually it is much better now, I think we are reducing the R-naught, pero (but) we are not off the hook yet,” Gloriani said.

Citing the data collected by Bloomberg, she said that more than 6.5 billion doses have been administered across 184 countries.

“The latest rate was roughly 25.5 million doses a day,” the VEP head said.

She cited that China has the most number of vaccine doses administered with 2.2 billion, and 75 percent of its population is fully vaccinated.

Globally, the latest vaccination rate is 25,478,450 doses per day, on average. At this pace, it will take another seven months to cover 75 percent of the population,” Gloriani said.