FINANCE Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has revealed in an exclusive interview with CNBC that the country is set to receive the initial doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in February, with the government targeting majority of the 55 percent of the population to be inoculated by the end of 2021.
The national government is pouring P82.5 billion for the acquisition of the vaccines from various global pharmaceutical firms.
“Probably by the end of this year, we should have vaccinated the majority of the people,” Dominguez said.
Asked by CNBC why only 55 percent, Dominguez replied that a large percentage of the Philippine population is below 18 years old.
“That’s not recommended for vaccination. We have a total of 110 million people and around 40 million are below 18 years old, and the medical authorities do not recommend them to be vaccinated,” he said during the interview.
Dominguez said 57 to 60 million people will be inoculated by the national government, accounting for the 55 percent of the population. Some 10-13 million would be inoculated by the private sector and local government units, and include those adults who don’t wish to be vaccinated.
Sought for comment, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Steven Yu said the earlier some of the citizens can get inoculated, the earlier the economic recovery will be.
“The earlier we can inoculate a majority of our population and achieve herd immunity, the faster our economic recovery will be. The end of year 2021 target is already very good if it will be realized. We thought that we would reach the third quarter of 2022,” Yu said.
Yu said if the prioritization and segmentation are done right, the country can achieve herd immunity with only 55 percent inoculation.
“The vaccine boards of each local government unit will help, if not take charge, of the prioritization list,” he said.
In an earlier interview, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Felix Taguiam called the vaccine the “light at the end of the tunnel.”
Business leaders have been banking on the vaccine to hasten the economic recovery of the country, which has been badly hit by the pandemic. (JOB)