The Philippines sorely lags behind its Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) neighbors in terms of its national Covid19 vaccination campaign.
Per a recent release by the independent “Our World in Data” tracker of the respected University of Oxford (England), the Philippines emerged 8th among 10 ASEAN states surveyed, ahead of Myanmar and Vietnam.
Singapore (pop.5.7 million), which is the second least populated country in ASEAN after Brunei, emerged on top of the pack with 42.8 percent of its population vaccinated.
It was followed by Cambodia (pop. 16.7 million), 16.72 percent; Brunei (pop. 437,000), 11.37 percent; Laos (pop. 7.3 million), 9.74 percent; Malaysia (pop. 32.7 million), 8.76 percent; and Indonesia (pop. 270 million), 7.19 percent.
Thailand (pop. 70 million) 5.94 percent; Philippines (pop. 110 million), 4.23 percent; Myanmar (pop. 53.2 million), 3.26 percent; and Vietnam (pop. 97.3 million), 1.40 percent.
Secretary Carlito Galvez, who is coordinating the PH’s vaccine effort, has previously assured Filipinos of a “better Christmas” by yearend with the achievement of herd immunity, or the vaccination of some 70 million persons.
But numerous local analytics and study groups feel Galvez’s guesstimate to be far-fetched owing to the erratic vaccines deliveries that has cause the rollout to stall as well as vaccine hesitancy (various surveys show that some 6 out of 10 citizens are refusing to get immunized) among millions of Filipinos.
Lately, the pages of the major newspaper dailies had been filled with stories regarding several cities and towns in the Visayas and Mindanao crying out for additional vaccine stocks from the Department of Health and the National Covid Task Force (IATF) to allow them to address the spike in infections brought about by the new variants, which have remained unheeded.
According to ABS-CBN’s data analysis arm, herd immunity in the PH may only be reached sometime in mid-2023, at the current pace of vaccinations.
REUTERS/Lisa Marie David