PH must vaccinate 20M adolescents to reach new herd immunity target – Galvez

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 13) — Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Monday said the country must be able to vaccinate 20 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 years old if it wants to reach the new target for herd immunity.

"If we want to upgrade ang [the] scale of herd immunity to 80-90 [percent], we need to vaccinate more or less 20 million from the adolescent and pediatrics," he said in an ambush interview during the arrival of two million Sinovac vaccines.

Vaccine experts earlier raised the government's herd immunity target from the initial 70% or 77 million individuals to "up to 90%" of the Philippines' 109 million population because of the emergence of new variants, which have lowered the efficacy of available COVID-19 vaccines.

Several cities in Metro Manila have opened registration for the vaccination of 12 to 17 year olds, but the national government has yet to approve a start date for the inoculation of minors.

Galvez said the vaccination of adults who are more susceptible to suffering from severe COVID-19 remains the country's priority.

The country's Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for adolescents aged 12 to 17.

Over 15 million Filipinos have completed their vaccination, while 20.8 million have received their first dose.