Anyone willing to get immunized against COVID-19 should be immunized by June to bring the country closer to achieving herd immunity by the end of the year, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said Tuesday.
The Philippines will have some 21 million vaccines at that time, which is "more than enough," said Gatchalian. Currently, only medical frontliners, seniors, those with co-morbidities and economic frontliners can get vaccinated.
"It's about time to move the general public up in the priority program as early as June. So meaning, allowing the general public, anyone who is willing to take their vaccine to be vaccinated as early as June," Gatchalian told ANC.
He cited the results of the recent Social Weather Stations survey which showed that 32% of Filipinos are willing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
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More than enough supply
"If you do the simple math in the NCR cluster, that's about 26 million in population. The vaccine acceptance rate is only 32%," Gatchalian said.
"So if you multiply the [population] by 32%, you get about 8 million. Eight million is less than the 21 million inventory so we have more than enough vaccines for people who want to be vaccinated," he added.
Gatchalian said waiting on those who are hesitant on vaccines could set back the herd immunity timeline. "To achieve herd immunity by the end of the year, we have to start with the willing because they are ready to go."
The National Task Force Against COVID-19 said nearly 1 million people have already been fully vaccinated against the disease, with over 4 million doses already administered as of May 22.
The Philippines is aiming to vaccinate at least 50 million Filipinos, enough to achieve herd immunity by late November.