50 million COVID-19 vaccines not enough for ‘herd immunity’ – PFV exec

An official from the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination (PFV) said 50 million -19 vaccines are not enough to give as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In an interview with Unang Hirit on Wednesday, PFV director Dr. Lulu Bravo said if the vaccination requires two doses, the initial supply could only cover 25 million out of the over 100 million Filipinos.

“Kalahati na ‘yun ng ating population, dahil ang populasyon natin 110 million na yata, ‘di ba? So kung may 50 million, that is two doses, 25 million lang ang puwedeng mabigyan,” Bravo said.

“Kung two doses ‘yun, tapos ang mabibigyan mo lang is 25 million, one-fourth ng ating population, hindi pa ‘yun herd immunity, kasi sabi mo nga 60 to 70 percent,” she added.

WHO experts advised the vaccination of 65% to 70% of a population to achieve herd immunity.

According to WHO, “‘Herd immunity’, also known as ‘population immunity,’ is a concept used for vaccination, in which a population can be protected from a certain virus if a threshold of vaccination is reached. Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it.”

The PFV official said the rest of the population who did not receive the vaccine, or have already recovered from the infection and developed natural immunity, will be protected.

50 million COVID-19 vaccines not enough for herd immunity

“Mas marami ang merong panlaban — may bakuna o kaya nagkaroon na ng sakit at may natural immunity na — mas mahirap nang ikalat o i-transmit sa iba ang sakit,” Bravo said.

Last week, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Thursday the Philippines would be assured to get 30 to 50 million COVID-19 vaccines from drugmakers in China, United Kingdom, and the United States within the month.

However, said he could not disclose the price of the  due to a confidentiality disclosure agreement between the Philippines and the manufacturers.

With this vaccine supply, Bravo said priority should be given to healthcare workers, senior citizens, and Filipinos who are suffering from the illness.

She also urged the government to choose COVID-19 vaccines that are safe, effective, cheap and easily delivered.

Bravo also noted that the country had limited cold chain services, so a vaccine that only requires refrigeration would be a better choice.