Herd immunity is difficult to achieve if many Filipinos refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Department of Health.
“As long as there are people refusing to be vacicnated, lumalayo nang lumalayo ang ating target at lumalayo nang lumalayo ‘yong tsansa na maka-achieve ng herd immunity na sinasabi natin,” said Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.
The government is targeting 70 million Filipinos to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity this year, which is a way to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Ito ay moral obligation po ng lahat ng mga tao na tayo na dapat, tayo ay magpabakuna at dapat ‘wag nating hintayin ‘yong tinatawag na ‘best vaccine,'” he said.
This is amid the reluctance of Filipinos to be vaccinated against COVID-19, which has already infected more than 580,000 in the country.
According to experts, herd immunity can be achieved if a sufficient number of people in a population are vaccinated against the disease.
As a result, other people will also be protected because the virus will no longer spread.
According to a scientist, there are various things that need to be computed to determine how many people need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity.
Herd immunity difficult to achieve if many do not get vaccinated – DOH
This includes the speed at which the disease spreads.
“Sa ngayon yata ang report ng SARS-CoV-2 ay sa isang tao kaya niyang manghawa ng 2 to 3 persons. Wala pang variant ‘yan. Ibig sabihin kung mayroon tayong variant na ang mutation… puwedeng tumaas ng 4 to 5 ang mahahawaan,” said Dr. Marilen Balolong, professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of the Philippines-Manila.
According to the government, the best scenario is for the Philippines to reach that target by 2021, but it is possible that it will be delayed depending on the supply of vaccines.
Both Vergeire and Balolong believe that the vaccine is acceptable even though it has a low efficacy rate right now because the government has 2 goals.
“Itong herd immunity is our long term, our end term goal. Pero ang atin ngayong tinitignan na very objective of why we would like to vaccinate as soon as possible is for us to reduce morbidity and to reduce mortality,” said Vergeire.