An OCTA Research fellow said the Philippines has achieved “substantial population immunity” against COVID-19 based on the current data.
Fr. Nicanor Austriaco Jr., a Catholic priest who is also a molecular biologist, told President Rodrigo Duterte that the country now has its lowest number of cases and hospitalization rate and its highest mobility rate in 20 months.
“So what these three mean together is that it suggests that we have obtained substantial population immunity from natural infections and vaccinations in the urban areas of the Philippines,” Austriaco said during the weekly taped “Talk to the People.”
“Because the pandemic has raged and spread primarily in our cities and our first-class municipalities. The fact that the virus is struggling to find new Filipinos to infect suggests that we have obtained substantial population immunity,” he added.
The OCTA Research fellow said the Philippines did not continue to experience surges after the Delta variant arrived, unlike its neighbors, specifically Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
“Now the reason why these four different countries have experienced four different pandemic curves is probably because, as you can see, the Philippines experienced substantial waves of previous variants — especially the Alpha, Beta variants, which struck our country in March and April of this year,” Austriaco said.
PH attains ‘substantial population immunity’ vs. COVID-19 – OCTA
“And so combining the vaccinations and the natural immunity, what you’re seeing here is that many of our cities where the pandemic tends to focus are now stable enough to prevent transmission,” he added.
Austriaco added the National Capital Region was already “robustly protected against a future surge of COVID-19.”
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.