Senator Panfilo Lacson has lashed out at concerned government officials for the extremely slow pace of the Covid19 rollout.
At this rate things are moving, Lacson said it could take 12 years for the Philippines to achieve herd immunity, or immunizing about 70 percent of the 110 million population.
Lacson lamented the fact that the government is vaccinating at a pace of only 12,000 persons daily, which is slower than that of a turtle.
(The Department of Health said that as of March 17, 2021, close to 244,000 people have already been vaccinated.)
“Unless the vaccination is not accelerated, assuming we have adequate vaccine doses for the targeted 70 million people, we might not reach herd immunity before 2033,” Lacson said in a TV interview.
However, Lacson’s criticism was countered by vaccine czar Charlie Galvez who said the Philippines is on track to vaccinate 70 percent of the population by the end of 2021, for Filipinos to have a “better Christmas.”
Galvez said he expects the rollout pace to quicken once all expected vaccines from Sinovac, Serum Institute of India (Novavax), Gamaleya (Sputnik V) and AstraZeneca arrive by the third quarter of this year.
By mid-April, when the nation’s 1.8 million health care workers are properly inoculated, he said the pace of the vaccine rollout can be upped to about 2 to 3 million people per week.
Galvez disclosed that this is apart from plans being discussed with foreign pharmaceutical firms for the manufacture locally of their vaccine products, which would really be a “game-changer.”
He pointed out that the Philippines is entirely dependent on vaccines sourced from abroad, and compounded by the fact that some 80 percent of global vaccine production has already been cornered by First World nations like the US, UK, Canada and the EU.