Gov’t eyes COVID-19 vaccination of 50 to 60 percent of population

By: Cathrine Gonzales - Reporter / @cgonzalesINQ - Inquirer.net | November 20,2020 - 11:30 AM

MANILA, Philippines — The government wants to vaccinate 50 to 60 percent of the country’s population against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to achieve herd immunity, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the government was initially planning to vaccinate 20 percent of the population but this target was raised during a discussion of the DOH with the National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr.

“When we were discussing and as directed by our vaccine czar Sec. Galvez, we would want to have this expanded coverage for this vaccine that at least 50 to 60 percent of the population can be vaccinated,” she told ABS-CBN News Channel.

“So if and when we have these vaccines’ priorities, we need to be able to cost as I have said the end-to-end process, and eventually we will be able to expand the coverage to include at least up to 50 percent of the population for these vaccines,” she added.

According to Vergeire, such a percentage of coverage for vaccination is necessary to achieve herd immunity or a concept in vaccination wherein enough people in a specific area are protected against infectious disease.

“So it is really important that we can expand coverage with this target that we have but as we have said we will be prioritizing specific populations first and then we can be able to roll it out and hopefully we can achieve the 60 percent targeted population,” she added.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said that healthcare workers, uniformed personnel, and the poor will be among those to be prioritized in getting the COVID-19 vaccine once it is available.

Earlier, U.S .biotech company Moderna announced that its experimental vaccine against COVID-19 was found 94.5 percent effective based on early results from a clinical trial with more than 30,000 participants.

Pfizer and BioNTech also said that a completed study of their experimental COVID-19 vaccine showed it was 95 percent effective.

/MUF
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