MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government is targeting to reach herd immunity this year amid its battle against COVID-19 as it hopes for a “better Christmas” for Filipinos, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Thursday.
Galvez said this can be achieved if there will be a stable supply of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
“Ngayon ang aming declaration is we will have a better Christmas this year. Kailangan ‘yun ang target namin na we will have a better Christmas. We will inoculate 70 million at nakita namin kaya natin ito kapag nagkaroon tayo ng steady supply ng [vaccine],” Galvez said in an interview with ABS-CBN News.
“Ang target pa rin natin si yung 50 to 70 million. Talagang ang target natin ngayong year is herd immunity,” he added.
Should the Philippines reach its goal of herd immunity this year, the target for 2022 is for the country’s “exit strategy” to eliminate COVID-19, said Galvez.
But can herd immunity be achieved this year at the rate the vaccinations are going? Galvez said: “Sa ngayon, mabagal talaga tayo kasi ang [priority] natin healthcare workers. Kasi ang nakikita natin mahirap na sabay-sabayin natin yung ating healthcare workers kasi walang tatao sa ating ospital kung may adverse effects.”
Galvez earlier said the Philippines is targeting to increase the number of vaccinations being done monthly and reach as many as 4 million vaccinees by July.
Galvez said they are ensuring the steady supply of COVID-19 vaccines arriving in the Philippines to meet these targets by starting at a million vaccinations per week in April.
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