DOH ‘not sure’ how long a COVID-19 vaccine can give immunity

The government has yet to guarantee how long the vaccines against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) could provide against the virus.

This was confirmed by Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeiere, Wednesday, at the government’s Laging Handa briefing, as the pandemic continues to plague the lives and livelihoods of Filipinos.

“[H]indi pa ho natin talaga mabibigyan ng accurate na sagot kung bawat bakuna ay ilang taon ang maibibigay, o ilang buwan ang maibibigay na immunity [laban s COVID-19],” she said.

“Ito po ay patuloy pa ring pag-aaralan.”

The vaccine manufacturer Moderna had earlier said that their drug could provide at least a year of protection against COVID-19.

Up to P73.2 billion will be allocated for the purchase of vaccines. P40 billion is said to come from multilateral agencies, P20 billion from domestic sources, and P13.2 billion from bilateral agreements.

Vaccine Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. confirmed today that the government just signed an agreement with AstraZeneca to get another 20 million doses.

‘not sure’ how long a can give immunity

That is in addition to the 25 million doses of vaccine from Chinese manufacturer Sinovac that are expected to arrive as early as February, even though a Brazilian study says its efficacy is only 50.4%. Local government units also have deals to procure vaccines.

Although the Philippines does not yet have definitive evidence when it comes to the length of protection the vaccines will provide, it is said that this issue is important when it comes to choosing the brand that the country will get.

“When we talk about immunity na dulot ng mga bakuna, napakaimportante po niyan, dahil ‘yan po ang magsasabi kung how long the population could be protected from a specific disease.”

“Kaya nga lang po, sa current situation natin, isa pa rin po ‘yan sa titignan at patuloy na titignan sa patuloy na pag-aaral dito po sa pagro-rollout ng mga bakuna.”

The government plans to vaccinate 60-70% of the Philippine population to reach “herd immunity.”

However, the World Organization (WHO) says this will not happen until 2021 even though Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has already stated its possibility.