‘Better Christmas’ seen as PH gets herd immunity by November
MANILA, Philippines — A “better Christmas” is waiting for Filipinos as the road to herd immunity is projected to be short, with the inoculation of around 70 percent of the population targeted to be accomplished before the year ends, the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 said.
“Vaccines will be the key to eliminate the COVID crisis. Vaccines are not coming in trickles, and are now coming in volumes,” Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said in a taped message at the virtual launch of the “Ingat Angat Bakuna Lahat” campaign led by the private sector on Friday.
In his statement, Galvez said “herd containment” will take place by September this year with a targeted inoculation of 25 million to 50 million Filipinos. By November, Galvez said, the country will reach its benchmark for herd immunity with 58 million to 70 million of the population receiving full doses.
Eliminated by Q2 of 2022
“With 110 million vaccinated, we will have the elimination of the disease by the second quarter of 2022,” he added. The country’s “vaccine czar” said the government’s vaccination targets are meant to provide a “better Christmas” for Filipinos.
At the time of his presentation, Galvez said about 7.8 million vaccines against COVID-19 have arrived, with an additional boost from the procurement of 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech.
Task Force T3 (test, trace, treat), a consortium of private stakeholders, launched the “Ingat Angat Bakuna Lahat” campaign to boost vaccine confidence among Filipinos, and drive demand for inoculation to stop the further spread of the virus, thus reducing infection rates to safe levels.
‘Agile media strategy’
Margot Torres, managing director of McDonald’s Philippines and “Ingat Angat Bakuna Lahat” communication advocacy co-lead, said the challenge was to debunk vaccine myths and arrest the spread of fake news.
To address this, she said, the campaign would employ an “agile media strategy” tapping traditional and new media channels for various targeted outputs meant to respond to a wide range of the population.
To encourage Filipinos to get vaccinated, Torres said they tapped 131 restaurants under the Resto PH umbrella to give discounts to those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Former Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit also spoke at the launch to share the participation of private health facilities and malls in the government’s vaccination drive.
“We are targeting to administer 150,000 jabs in 30 days,” he said, adding that private hospitals were coordinating with local governments to provide manpower and vaccination sites.
Five healthcare providers have so far committed to supporting the campaign—Ayala’s AC Health, Metro Pacific Hospitals, Mount Grace Hospitals Inc., St. Luke’s Medical Center, and The Medical City.
A total of 52 vaccination sites will also be set up in commercial establishments nationwide—11 Megaworld Lifestyle Malls and 41 SM Supermalls.
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