The Philippines is eyeing to vaccinate around 58 million or 70% of 83 million people who live in COVID-19 hotspots to achieve herd immunity, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday.
Roque said of the said hotspots, focus areas will include the National Capital Region, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Bulacan, Cavite, Pampanga, Laguna, Batangas, and Rizal.
The expansion areas, on the other hand, covers Region 3, Region 4, Cagayan de Oro, Baguio City, Zamboanga City, Bacolod City, Iloilo City, General Santos, Iligan City, Region 7 and Region 11, Region 10, Region 6, Region 8, Region 9, Region 2, Cordillera Administrative Region, Region 5, Region 1 , Region 12 and Region 13.
The total population of these areas is 83,829,719. The 70% of that number is 58,680,803.
“These areas are really the hotspots. It (being in these priority areas) is not a badge of honor,” Roque said.
“This is just our answer to a medical fact," he added.
The easing of quarantine protocols, Roque said, will be hugely dependent on the vaccine coverage.
“We would really have more confidence to open the economy once vaccine coverage increases,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metro Manila and nearby provinces Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna or the National Capital Region Plus (NCR) under general community quarantine "with heightened restrictions" from May 15 until May 31, 2021 alongside 15 other areas nationwide last week.
The GCQ with heightened restrictions protocol only allows essential trips within NCR Plus areas and partially allows outdoor tourism activities, a deviation from the GCQ protocol which partially allows leisurely trips and tourism-related business to operate.
The Philippines has 54,904 active COVID-19 cases as of May 16.
The Department of Health on Friday said vital signs screening will no longer be included in the COVID-19 vaccination process as part of a bid to speed up the rollout. —AOL/KG, GMA News