Herd immunity in high-risk areas will usher in economic revival

Herd immunity in high-risk areas will usher in economic revival

MANILA – The government will strategically allocate coronavirus vaccines to urban centers with high infection rates to contain the further spread of the virus.

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., also the Chief Implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19, said during a Cabinet meeting Wednesday night that they will focus on so-called urban centers to eliminate the vulnerability to the dreaded disease.

He said they have recalibrated the vaccination plan to complete the inoculation of at least 50 million Filipinos this year that may lead to herd immunity.

“Kasi po kung titignan po natin, sa Metro Manila po nanggagaling ‘yung ating Covid-19 at na-transfer po ‘yan sa mga karatig na mga lugar and even sa mga ibang cities. Ganoon din po sa mga centers ng Cebu at saka po Davao na pag po na-completely heal natin at nabigyan na natin ng herd immunity, the possibility na mag-e-expand ‘yung herd immunity to other areas, mas maganda po (As we can see, Covid-19 infections are coming from Metro Manila and being transferred to nearby areas. We will do the same [vaccine] deployment to Cebu and Davao (cities). If we are completely healed and achieve herd immunity in these areas, we could possibly expand the herd immunity to other areas nearby so that’s much better),” Galvez told President Rodrigo Duterte.

The economy will recover up to 80 percent, Galvez said, once herd immunity is achieved in the high-risk areas.

According to Galvez, the Philippines needs to vaccinate some 58,680,803 Filipinos out of the 83,829,719 target population, to achieve herd immunity.

“We have to concentrate on geographic areas that we need to contain. We are racing against time. With this, if we immediately vaccinate those areas, the cases could be reduced, just like in Indonesia and Turkey that have prioritized heavily-affected areas,” he said.

“Considering that we have limited resources at limited vaccine, unahin po natin ‘yung (we have to focus on the) center of gravity.”

Under the recalibrated vaccination plan, Galvez said the government will focus on areas with high Covid-19 cases such as the National Capital Region and its neighboring provinces in Calabarzon, Baguio City, Metro Cebu, Bacolod City, Iloilo City, Davao City, Cagayan de Oro City, Zamboanga City, General Santos City, and Iligan City, among others.

As of May 4, there are 3,505 vaccination sites inoculating A1 (healthcare workers), A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with comorbidities) groups across 17 regions.

A total of 2,065,235 Filipinos have been vaccinated with the initial dose while 320,586 are already fully vaccinated.

Some 97 percent of the 1,805,000 allocated first doses have already been administered, equating to 1,744,649 doses, while second doses have reached 320,586. (PNA)

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