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Study showing PH’s low COVID-19 resilience ranking irks Duque

/ 09:52 AM July 01, 2021

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora leads the launch of Moderna vaccines for residents under the A1, A2, A3, A4, and A5 categories in San Juan City’s vaccination program at the FilOil Flying V Centre, on June 30. Niño Jesus Orbeta/Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III expressed displeasure over what he said was an unfair study by media company Bloomberg that showed the Philippines ranks second to the last in a list of 53 countries in terms of COVID-19 pandemic resilience.

Duque noted that most of the parameters used in Bloomberg’s COVID Resilience Ranking are “skewed” to a high vaccination rate. He admitted that the Philippines still does not have enough vaccines to provide its population with protection.

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Based on the study, the Philippines ranked 52nd out of 53 countries, with a score of only 45.3, next to Argentina with a score of 37. The United States topped the ranking with a high resiliency score of 76, followed by New Zealand with 73.7, Switzerland and Israel with 72.9, and France with 72.8.

According to Bloomberg, the indicators considered in the study are the percentage of people who have been vaccinated, the severity of lockdowns, flight capacity, vaccinated travel routes, one-month cases per 100,000 population, one-month case fatality rate, total deaths per 1 million people, and positivity rate.

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“It is very unfair and it is only showing that those countries that have already been vaccinated and reached a population protection of more than 50 percent, [they’re saying], ‘We’re okay now. You can come. Ayos na kami dito. Our doors are open. Balik na kayo,’” Duque told ABS-CBN News Channel.

(We’re okay now. You can come. We are fine now. Our doors are open. Come back now.)

“That’s unfair. That’s very unfair and I am really pissed with this kasi hindi naman tama (this is not right),” he added.

Duque noted that the Philippines still has low coverage for fully vaccinated individuals as richer countries have already secured the bulk of the COVID-19 vaccine supply.

“We’re only at 3 point plus percent for fully immunized individuals. People covered by vaccines, we are only at 3.2 percent. Why? Because the rich countries have already secured 80 percent of the global supply of vaccines and that leaves us among the middle-income countries scrambling and almost begging for vaccines,” he said.

“And they are already talking about the luxury of having a third or booster dose, and to me this is unethical. Because the world, many of the citizens of the world are still without vaccines and then you’re now talking about a third or booster dose. I cannot fathom that point,” Duque added.

Duque also noted that the Philippines is fairing well in terms of other factors considered in the study, including the number of cases per 100,000 population, and the number of deaths.

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Asked what action the DOH will be taking in the wake of the study, Duque said: “We can exercise the option of writing them a letter and questioning how skewed the parameters are towards a high vaccination coverage. There has to be a better balance.”

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TAGS: Bloomberg, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, Department of Health, Francisco Duque, resilience, Study
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