Experts propose raising herd immunity goal to 90% of population — DOH

By: Cathrine Gonzales - Reporter / @cgonzalesINQ - Inquirer.net | September 04,2021 - 07:06 PM

(FILE) A tourism worker in Ilocos Norte gets a jab against COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of Ilocos Norte provincial government)

MANILA, Philippines — Experts have recommended raising the government’s herd immunity target for  COVID-19 to 80 or 90 percent of the country’s population instead of 70 percent, the Department of Health (DOH) said Saturday.

“Herd immunity” or “population immunity”  is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said experts made the recommendation as COVID-19 variants of concern decrease the efficacy of vaccines against symptomatic infection.

“Itong herd immunity is a long-term goal of government and because the efficacy against symptomatic infections has been affected already, kaya ang ina-achieve natin na dati 70 percent lang ay pwede na ang herd immunity… pero ngayon tinataas na po ng mga eksperto natin up to 90 percent because of the effect on the efficacy of vaccines,” she said during the Laging Handa public briefing.

(Herd immunity is a long-term goal of the government. Because the efficacy against symptomatic infections has been affected already, our experts have recommended increasing the target to up to 90 percent from the previous 70 percent.)

“We are guaranteed with 194 million doses so ibig sabihin almost mga 100 million ay mababakunahan natin basta dumating ang supplies (so it means almost 100 may be vaccinated as long as supplies arrive) until the end of the year,” she added.

However, Vergeire noted that all vaccines continue to offer protection against the severe form of COVID-19. She said that fully vaccinated individuals who get infected mostly have mild cases.

Authorities earlier said that over 70 million individuals should be vaccinated if the herd immunity goal will cover 70 percent of the population.

The country has so far administered 34 million COVID-19 vaccine doses since the inoculation drive started in March. Over 14 million Filipinos are now fully vaccinated against the disease.

/MUF

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TAGS: DOH, herd immunity, population immunity, Vergeire

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