On Friday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Filipinos might not be able to experience a mask-free Christmas this year because COVID-19 vaccines are scarce.
He said that the government’s vaccine program might last until next year. Population protection in the coming 130 to 140 can only be achieved if the country can get 25 million doses a month, he stressed.
“Mukhang made-delay ‘yun,” Duque said.
“‘Wag muna nating asahan ‘yan kasi mafu-frustrate lang tayo na umaasa tayo, pinaaasa natin ang taumbayan eh hindi naman natin kontrolado ang supply,” he added.
Since the commencement of the vaccination program in March, the country has received around 23 million doses.
Ten million have been vaccinated at least once, but only 4.2 million have taken more than one dose. The government plans to inoculate 70 million to see herd immunity.
“Supply permitting lahat ‘yan, kasi sabihin mo pang gusto mong tapusin ito, kaso ang supply naman ay bungi bungi at kulang kulang,” Duque said.
“Kaya kung posible bang umabot ito (vaccination) ng first quarter ng 2022 ay puwedeng–puwede.”
“This is a realistic and attainable goal for all of us. We have to imagine, as a country, a no-mask Christmas. Can we have a no-mask Christmas? What will it look like? It will look like what it was before. This is possible,” Molecular biologist Fr. Nicanor Austriaco Jr. said during a briefing.
“Kaya nga po we are aiming for population protection or ‘yung containment na sinasabi ni Fr. Austriaco kasi alam natin sa mga bansang nakamit yung containment, hindi na sila nagma-mask at least sa outdoors gaya po ng Israel at ibang lugar sa Amerika. That is what we’re aiming for. Tama po si Fr. Austriaco, a mask-less Christmas,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque also said.