The Department of Health (DOH) said that about 60 percent of the country’s population should be immunized against COVID-19, once the vaccine is available, in order to achieve “herd immunity.”
“We would need about 60 to 70 percent of the population immunized so that we can have herd immunity,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
Herd immunity is achieved “when a sufficient number of people in the community is immune to an infectious disease,” the DOH said.
“We are not saying that we are tying up our hope dito lang sa bakuna but really alam natin [we know that it is] essential,” said Vergeire.
Vergeire said that the government still needs to allocate additional budget to procure sufficient number of vaccines for the public.
“When we talked about P12.5 billion (budget), that is just covering about 20 percent of our population, so we still need a budget for about 40 percent of the population para lang ma-reach natin yung [just so we can reach the] 60 percent for herd immunity,” said Vergeire.
“There are a lot of resources required so that we will be able to provide this response that we are providing to our population and protect them so that everybody gets to be safe,” she added.
To note, the DOH initially set aside P2.4 billion from its 2021 budget for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, adding that it is still short of P10 billion to cover the 20 percent of the country’s population. The House of Representatives has committed to increase the budget for the procurement of vaccines.
Once the vaccine is available, President Duterte said that the priority are those in the poor sector, police, and military personnel.