MAJORITY of adult Filipinos may already be inoculated against Covid-19 by the end of the year, achieving the government’s targets, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

In a recent presentation, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said the government’s vaccination drive remains on target to vaccinate around 70 percent of the country’s adult population by year-end.

Chua said a total of 75.6 million doses have been administered, broken down into: 42 million doses administered as a first dose and 33.6 million as a complete dose.

“This is on track, given our rapid vaccination drive everyday, to achieve or get close to our target in vaccinating 70 percent or the adult population by the end of the year,” Chua said.

Chua has also credited the vaccination drive with bringing down infection logs nationwide. He said from a peak of 26,000 in September, the country was able to bring this down to around 1,000 new cases per day.

This is no small feat, Chua said, considering that the cases declined without the use of “blanket quarantines.” This allowed the economy to slowly regain its bearings.

He added that the three C’s— closed spaces, crowds, and close contacts—helped guide Filipinos and the government in handling the pandemic. This also paved the way for the easing of mobility restrictions in the country.

These eventually led to the 7.1-percent GDP growth recorded in the third quarter, said the Neda chief, who remained confident that given the progress in the vaccination and easing of mobility restrictions, fourth quarter GDP growth will also be robust.

“Even during the short ECQ in position we allowed the public transport to operate, we allowed workers to be exempted from curfew and allowed most sectors except those falling under the three Cs to operate at full capacity. And with everyone’s cooperation, we expect the holiday season to also go through without danger or increase in the Covid-19 cases,” Chua said.

To sustain the growth, Chua said the Neda has recommended five key policies including the vaccination of children 5 years old and above, as well as placing the country under Alert Level 1 starting in January 2022.

The list of recommendations include the resumption of face-to-face classes in all schools starting in January; allowing 100 percent capacity in public transportation; and streamlining local and international travel requirements.

In the medium-term, Chua said, policies and reforms will build on these and help the country finally become an upper middle income country in two years and achieve the Filipinos’ AmBisyon Natin by 2040.

Some of the policies to be pursued in the medium term include the use and promotion of smart infrastructure; regional equity distribution of resources; investments in innovation; and tackling of climate change.





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