MANILA – The government would prioritize vulnerable sectors of the population to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) given the limited supply of vaccines worldwide, a health official said Wednesday.
In a Laging Handa press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said there is a competition in the procurement of vaccines and the delivery of the vaccines to the country will be in tranches.
"Kaya nga po tayo ay naglagay ng mga priority population...ito po ang tinatawag na at most risk or the most vulnerable among our population, kaya po ang ating stratehiya mabakunahan po natin itong (That's why created priority in the population...this is the 'at most risk or the most vulnerable' among the population, so this is the) vulnerable sectors of our population," she said.
On Monday, World Health Organization chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said any level of population immunity or herd immunity in 2021 is unlikely despite the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and "even if it happens in a couple of pockets in a few countries".
Swaminathan said governments must continue to push forward and take measures like physical distancing, proper handwashing and wearing of masks to avoid Covid-19 infection.
Vergeire noted that 60 to 70 percent of the population must be immunized or vaccinated in order for the population to achieve herd immunity.
"Kahit hindi po pa natin naa-achieve ang (Even though we aren't able to achieve) herd immunity at least we are assured that we can somehow prevent severe infections among this vulnerable group of people," she said.
This group includes healthcare workers, senior citizens, and the indigents.
On Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the first 50,000 of the 25 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine will arrive in February aside from 15,000 doses to be used for clinical trials in the country.
About 30 million doses of the Covovax vaccine from India are expected to be delivered within the third quarter of the year. (PNA)