The Philippines can achieve herd immunity in 11 to 12 months if it manages to vaccinate 450,000 people each day, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Monday.
Duque said this was based on the assumption that the Philippines would have a supply of some 140 million vaccine doses as well as 4,500 vaccination sites that inoculate 100 individuals each daily.
“It will take probably 11 to 12 months to do that, perhaps five to six months for the first dose and four to five months for the second dose,” he said in a media forum following the launch of the European Union’s support to the country’s COVID-19 response.
A nation of over 110 million people, the Philippines needs to vaccinate 70 million individuals against COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity.
“If you have 4,500 implementing units or vaccination sites at 100 vaccinees per site, so that’s 450,000 a day. If you divide [that by] 70 million Filipinos… then it will take you about 159 days,” Duque said.
“Assuming that Sundays are off, [vaccination] is six days a week, so you’ll do it in five to six months for the first dose and four to five months for the second dose,” he added.
However, the country has only received 1,125,600 doses so far, all of which were donations from the Chinese government and the COVAX Facility, a global initiative aimed at equitable access to vaccines.
A total of 193,492 health workers have been vaccinated as of March 13.
Duque said he could not promise a timeline for the arrival of other doses.
Despite the launch of the vaccination program at the start of the month, the Philippines is battling a fresh surge of COVID-19 cases that health authorities have attributed to new coronavirus variants and the public’s relaxed adherence to health protocols.
Experts have warned that the Philippines could see up to 20,000 new COVID-19 cases per day by April if the surge is not contained.
The Philippines has 48,157 active COVID-19 cases as of Sunday afternoon.
The country's total tally of COVID-19 cases reached 621,498, with recoveries at 560,512 and deaths at 12,829. —KG, GMA News