PH ‘so far off target’ in achieving COVID-19 herd immunity by 2021 – Robredo
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is “so far off-target” in achieving herd immunity against COVID-19 by 2021, Vice President Leni Robredo said as she proposed the vaccination of 256,993 people in the country daily.
“We are so far off the target at the rate we are going now,” Robredo said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
The Vice President noted that the government targets to achieve herd immunity, or the vaccination of 70 percent of the country’s population, by the end of the year.
“Herd immunity is 70% of the population. 70% of 105 [million] people is 73,500,000. If we have about 286 remaining days in 2021, we should inoculate 256,993 people per day,” she added.
“Our problem at hand is huge. We have to deal with this collectively. Huwag sana masamain ang suggestions [I hope my suggestions will not be taken the wrong way],” she also said.
Robredo underscored the need to improve the government’s vaccination rollout as she pointed to the number of vaccinated health workers.
“Per DOH (Department of Health) numbers, for the period March 1-17, 269,583 health frontliners were inoculated. That is just 23.95%. At this rate, we are only averaging 15,857 per day,” she said.
While Robredo acknowledged the issue in the supply of vaccines, she pointed out that the jabs that were delivered to the country have not been deployed “with speed.”
“Let us assess where the bottlenecks are. [One million] palang supply natin, pero in 17 days hindi pa nga tayo naka-50% utilization, papaano na kung 70 [million] na yung available?” she said.
(Let us assess where the bottlenecks are. We only have one million doses right now, but in 17 days, we have only utilized 50 percent, what can we expect when we already have 70 million doses available?)
[A] READ: VP Leni shares her suggestions on dealing with the latest surge of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines
The country kicked off its vaccination drive on Mar. 1 following the arrival of 600,000 doses of the CoronaVac vaccine from Sinovac Biotech which were donated by the Chinese government
On March 4, 487,200 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from British-Swede firm AstraZeneca arrived in the country through the COVAX facility. This was followed by another set of 38,400 doses that arrived on March 7.
‘Stimulus package, please’
Robredo, meanwhile, pushed for a stimulus package for Filipinos who lost their jobs amid the pandemic.
“‘Sumunod nalang kasi kayo.’ Madali lang ito sabihin if you are speaking from a position of privilege. Pero kung wala ka nang ipapakain sa pamilya mo, lalabas ka pa din kahit nakakatakot. Stimulus package, please,” she said.
(‘Just follow.’ This is easy to say if you are speaking from a position of privilege. But what if you can no longer feed your family, you would be forced to go out to work even if you’re afraid. Stimulus package, please.)
“Ayuda para sa mga nawalan ng trabaho at kita. Hindi sapat yung binigay natin dati,” she added.
(Let’s give assistance to those who lost their jobs. What we already gave is still not enough.)
So far, Congress has passed two Bayanihan laws, which provide assistance to pandemic-hit sectors.
Some lawmakers have been pushing for a third Bayanihan measure but some are seeing no need to do so, citing the government’s supposed slow-paced release of funds, among others.
On Saturday, the Philippines logged an all-time high single-day tally of 7,999 new infections, bringing the total of COVID-19 cases to 656,056, of which 80,642 are active cases.
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