Govt aims for herd immunity by October this year

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National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government plans to achieve herd immunity for the country by October this year.

Galvez said this would be achieved as the government will focus its vaccination drive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in high-risk areas such as the National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces of Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal and Cavite that are currently under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Other areas where future vaccine stocks will be shipped include other high-risk areas in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Davao.

“We aim to achieve herd immunity in areas with a high attack rate, specifically in Metro Manila, by October or November. This is also our commitment with the NITAG (National Immunization Technical Advisory Group),” he said.

The government expects a “steady supply” of vaccines starting the third quarter of the year, as the bulk of the deliveries coming from seven vaccine manufacturers are scheduled to arrive from June to August.

“We see a steady supply starting June. For the seven manufacturers that we have a contract of more or less 148 million, the first deliveries are third and fourth quarter. The main bulk is mid of third quarter,” Galvez said.

He said the government has a simulation plan for inoculating 120,000 individuals daily once the country starts receiving a steady supply of vaccines.

A total of 1.5 million government-procured CoronaVac vaccines are expected to be delivered this month.

Meantime, 500,000 doses of Gamaleya’s Sputnik V are scheduled to arrive by the end of April, with 15,000 doses to be delivered on April 25.

By May, the government expects the delivery of another 2 million doses from Sinovac, 1 to 2 million doses from Gamaleya, and possibly 194,000 doses from Moderna.

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