“As early as the first week of December, Vice Leni Robredo already declared her willingness to receive the vaccine in public to encourage all Filipinos to get vaccinated,” Barry Gutierrez said in a statement. / The STAR/Geremy Pintolo, File photo / (Philstar.com) – May 30, 2021 – 4:01pm
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo said that it would be better for the national government to retain its goal of having 70 million Filipinos vaccinated for the coronavirus by the end of 2021 rather than revert to more “realistic” targets.
To recall, the Department of Health said that the government “refocused” its target from 70% of the country’s population to at least 50% due to the tight supply of vaccine doses around the world.
Speaking on her weekly radio show, Robredo said that a higher target would accomplish more because it would push the government to fast-track inoculation efforts.
“I hope we still aim high. For me, it won’t be a bad thing to still aim for herd immunity so our actions are geared towards that end…this is an emergency, and it’s essential to respond to problems right away,” she said in mixed Filipino and English.
“Realistic targets are okay. But for me, we will do better and act more urgently if we have higher targets.”
Health authorities have said that herd immunity is achieved when around 70 percent of the population is inoculated.
The National Task Force Against COVID-19 continues to bat for herd immunity by November of this year despite the lowered vaccination targets.
Earlier Sunday, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr said that 5,120,023 individuals in the country have been inoculated against COVID-19, while some 1,189,353 Filipinos are now fully vaccinated.
“I don’t think we lose anything if our targets are high, because at least that’s what we’re trying to achieve,” Robredo said.
As it currently stands, the Philippines is still among the worst countries in the world when it comes to vaccinating people per population.
Government officials and state media continue to present only aggregate figures for vaccination to back up the claim that the Philippines is a top 5 country in Southeast Asia in vaccination.
Robredo added that the government could look into training more vaccination personnel as supplies continue to come in.
“We can’t rely on doctors and nurses for everything when they’re already doing so much, because it’s really going to slow things down,” Robredo said.
“I understand that the DOH is dealing with a lot, but we need to double time now because every day counts. This is a health issue and people’s lives are involved.”
To date, 1,223,627 coronavirus infections have been recorded in the country, 53,757 of whom are classified as active cases.
— Franco Luna with reports from Christian Deiparine