Health Secretary Francisco Duque said Thursday the Philippines could achieve herd immunity by the first quarter of 2022, with 500,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses being administered every day.
“Supply permitting and assuming that there will be about 500,000 to 600,000 doses jabbed per day, the conservative estimate is, we might be able to achieve herd immunity sometime… second month of the first quarter of 2022,” the DOH chief said during the DOH’s budget deliberations.
According to Duque, 195 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines are expected to arrive by the end of 2021.
“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.
Duque also said the COVID-19 pandemic can still last for a year or two.
“Malamang ito ay abutin pa ng isa hanggang dalawang taon batay sa mga projections ng WHO at mga grupo ng eksperto,” Duque said.
Herd immunity in PH possible by Q1 of 2021 – Duque
(COVID-19 threat could still last for a year or two based on the projections of the World Health Organization and other expert groups.)
Last month, an expert member of the University of the Philippines (UP)- Pandemic Response Team believed that the Philippines has not yet reached the herd immunity target by the end of this year.
“Ngayon, kung titignan, nasa 11 percent to 12 percent po ang ating mga fully vaccinated… Kung titignan natin ‘yung buong Pilipinas, medyo malabo labo pa po ‘yung December kasi marami rami pa pong probinsya ang wala pa talaga,” said Dr. Jomar Rabajante, spokesperson of UP Pandemic Response Team.
Rabajante added that a big reason for this is the upcoming supply of vaccines in the country. Even if local governments are ready and with adequate facilities and personnel, they will also be useless if vaccines do not increase.
Currently, 13.7 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, far from the 76.3 million target to achieve herd immunity.