The Duterte administration has shifted to a strategy to “population protection” in fighting the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, or focusing vaccination against the virus in areas where a high level of cases were recorded.
Department of Health Undersecretary (DOH) Myrna Cabotaje said at the Laging Handa briefing on Wednesday that the shift in strategy will also help jump-start the economy and prevent severe cases in areas where there were Covid-19 case spikes, like the National Capital Region (NCR).
“So, the term we use is really ‘population protection.’ We prevent hospitalization, we prevent and minimize deaths by prioritizing [areas]. And the bigger the population that is vaccinated, we have population protection, so there will be no more transmission,” Cabotaje said.
She said among the priority areas is the NCR Plus made up of the National Capital Region and the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Quezon, Cavite and Laguna.
The NCR and Region 4A (Calabarzon) easily account for more than 50 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. Rizal, Quezon, Cavite and Laguna are part of Region 4A.
Cabotaje added the government still targets to vaccinate 70 percent of Filipinos by the end of this year or early next year.
DOH records showed that the country had so far received 8.3 million shots of Covid-19 vaccines, with Cabotaje admitting worldwide supply for vaccines remain tight especially amid India’s Covid-19 surge. India is one of the major manufacturers of vaccines.