Herd immunity eyed in NCR, other high-risk areas by Oct — Galvez

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THE government will focus its coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination drive on high-risk areas such as the National Capital Region (NCR) and neighboring provinces to achieve herd immunity by October, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

This, as the government allocated the latest batch of 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine to NCR-plus and other areas experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases.

In a statement, Galvez said NCR would get 100,000 doses of the Sinovac-manufactured jabs while the rest of the supply would be sent to other “high-risk” areas.

These areas include cities and provinces in the NCR-plus such as Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal; and select areas in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Cagayan Valley (Region 2), Central Luzon (Region 3), Calabarzon (Region 4A), Western Visayas (Region 6), Central Visayas (Region 7), and Davao (Region 11).

Galvez said all of the vaccines would be deployed to the targeted implementing units within three days and would be administered during a one-week period.

“We aim to achieve herd immunity in areas with a high attack rate, specifically in Metro Manila, by October or November. This is also our commitment with the NITAG (National Immunization Technical Advisory Group),” he added.

Galvez joined top government officials in welcoming another batch of 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines that arrived from China on Thursday, April 22.

The latest shipment brings the Philippines’ Covid-19 vaccine stock to 3,525 million, of which at least 1.6 million doses have been administered.

The Chinese drug maker had shipped out 500,000 doses on April 11. These are on top of the 2 million doses that Sinovac had delivered to the country in February and March.

Meanwhile, Galvez said the government expected a “steady supply” of vaccines starting the third quarter of the year, as the bulk of the deliveries coming from seven vaccine manufacturers were scheduled to arrive from June to August.

Galvez said the government has a simulation plan for inoculating 120,000 individuals daily once the country starts receiving a steady supply of vaccines.

A total of 1.5 million government-procured Sinovac vaccines are expected to be delivered this month.

Meantime, 500,000 doses of Gamaleya’s Sputnik V are scheduled to arrive by the end of April, with 15,000 doses to be delivered on April 25.

May, the government expects the delivery of another 2 million doses from Sinovac, 1 to 2 million doses from Gamaleya, and possibly 194,000 doses from Moderna.

The Philippine government aims to inoculate 70 million adult Filipinos to achieve herd immunity.

Currently, only medical frontliners, senior citizens and persons with comorbidities are being inoculated.

Starting mid-May or June, the government will allow the inoculation of other essential workers.

The Philippines on Friday registered 8,719 new Covi-19 infections, raising the total tally to 979,740.

The new cases brought the number of active cases in the country to 102,799.

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