Department of Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Saturday said the government needs to raise the herd immunity threshold from 80 up to 90 percent of the population as some COVID-19 variants lessen the efficacy of vaccines.
"With these mutations of the virus, nagkaroon na po ng epekto itong variants of concerns sa ating mga bakuna kung saan napababa na po nito 'yung mga efficacy against symptomatic infections," Vergeire said at the Laging Handa public briefing.
(These variants of concerns are having an effect on vaccines, reducing their efficacy against symptomatic infections.)
"Nakikita natin na kahit bakunado, nagkakasakit (We see that even those who are already vaccinated are still acquiring the disease)," Vergeire added.
But, Vergeire also said a decline was seen on the number of severe cases and deaths due to COVID-19.
"Ibig sabihin ang lahat ng bakunang meron tayo ngayon ay nakapoprotekta pa rin sa mga severe, critical at prevention of deaths (This means all the vaccines that we have are still able to protect against severe, critical cases, and prevent deaths)," she pointed out.
Vergeire said herd immunity is a "long term goal of the government."
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also said in June that some of the current COVID-19 cases underscored the usefulness and effectivity of vaccines despite reports of low efficacy rates against virus variants.
Herd immunity can be achieved by the first quarter of 2022 with 500,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses being administered daily, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said earlier in the week.
"Having said that, it will exceed our herd immunity target of 77 million Filipinos, about 70% of the population, so we are confident that excess doses will be sufficient to cover those not belonging to the herd immunity population as identified," he said. —LBG, GMA News