The 23 cities that have fully vaccinated over 70 percent of their target populations may have achieved the desired vaccine coverage, but Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Thursday “they have yet to achieve absolute protection from COVID-19."
He said herd immunity should involve the whole country achieving the target vaccination coverage.
“In terms of absolute protection, it’s not, because there are areas that can be visited by individuals from areas with low vaccine coverage, so they can still be infected,” Duque said.
The Interior Department has identified the following cities as having achieved herd immunity in Metro Manila: San Juan City; Mandaluyong City; Pateros; Marikina City; Taguig City; Pasay City; Las Piñas City; Parañaque City; Manila; Muntinlupa City; Makati City; Valenzuela City; Quezon City; Navotas City; Pasig City; Malabon City; and Caloocan City.
Outside the National Capital Region, the following cities achieved their target population for vaccination: Baguio City; Angeles City; Iloilo City; Lapu-Lapu City; Mandaue City; Davao City.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte has urged the government and the private sector to "work harder" in the second round of COVID-19 mass vaccination drive to counter the threat of the Omicron variant.
The President encouraged everyone to work harder to reach every unvaccinated Filipino “so that we can give them the protection they need to stay in good health.”
The government targets to vaccinate at least 7 million Filipinos in the second phase of the "Bayanihan, Bakunahan" program from Dec. 15 to 17, according to acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles.
"As we launch the second phase of the Bayanihan, Bakunahan, let us demonstrate the same enthusiasm, cooperation, and resolve that made the first phase a success," Duterte said in a message read by Nograles.
“The highly successful first phase of Bayanihan Bakunahan has not only brought us closer to our goal of population protection against COVID-19. It has also demonstrated what remarkable feats we can achieve if we are united and working in solidarity,” read the President’s message.
"We honor your heroism," Duterte told frontliners, government workers, private partners, and the general public who participated in the event. "We sincerely acknowledge all your efforts in helping the government overcome this pandemic.”
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said that the government has already vaccinated about 8,098,078 million people of the 9 million target during the program's first phase from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3.
Meanwhile, the national government awarded Laguna province for having the highest number of anti-COVID-19 doses administered during the nationwide mass vaccination drive.
According to the National Task Force Against COVID-19, Laguna was able to administer a total 271,989 doses from.
Cebu City was also hailed as the city with the highest number of jabs administered with 103,828; while the top three municipalities are Rodriguez, Tanza, and Arayat with 39,383; 25,277; and 20,955 doses administered, respectively.
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was also awarded as the region with the highest improvement in its average jab rate at 785.
In other developments, the Philippines has received a total 150,151,870 COVID-19 vaccine doses following the delivery of Pfizer-BioNTech jabs Wednesday night.
National Task Force Against COVID-19 medical consultant Dr. Ma. Paz Corrales said the shelf life of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines had been extended for three more months.
The latest shipment consists of 1,082,250 doses secured by the national government through the Asian Development Bank.
To date, a total of 25.8 million doses out of 40 million government procured Pfizer vaccines have been shipped to the Philippines.