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The Duterte administration will soon hold the first national vaccination days on Nov. 30, 31, and Dec. 1, 2021, dubbed as “Bayanihan, Bakunahan.” This 3-day national vaccination event encourages “all eligible Filipino adults” who are 18 years old and above and “Filipino youth aged 12–17,” the government campaign slogan said, to get vaccinated.

The campaign slogan of the Philippine government states that the national vaccination days goal “targets to vaccinate 15 million Filipinos” in the 3-day national vaccination event. The goal statement furthers to say it is “part of the continued drive to protect more Filipinos from COVID-19 and its variants.”

What then appears dubious with the national vaccination days goal?

The Philippine government to aim at vaccinating millions of Filipinos alone is a no-brainer that the Duterte administration just wants only 15 million Filipinos to receive the COVID-19 vaccines for the national vaccination days. With the latest total population of the Philippines, over 109 million (PSA, 2021), [1] an 80–90% vaccinated population shall be achieved to expand the country’s herd immunity, said the government COVID-19 task force chief, Carlito Galvez Jr. [2]

Therefore, over 87–98 million Filipinos must be vaccinated to reach the expanded herd immunity in the Philippines, instead of the most estimated 60–70% herd immunity threshold.

As of Nov. 22, 2021, the government already administered over 76 million COVID-19 vaccines doses. [3] It means that over 76 million Filipinos have received the COVID-19 vaccines whether first dose or fully vaccinated.

If and only if the 15 million vaccinated Filipinos target is achieved, the country would reach the expanded herd immunity. But will this fight against the COVID-19 end when herd immunity begins? No.

The national vaccination days goal appears dubious when it aimed at 15 million Filipinos to get vaccinated even though that huge numbers in a wink would add up to reach the expanded herd immunity in the country.

Herd immunity cannot only be reached by vaccination alone. It can also be reached through past exposure to the virus (Nature 591, 520-522 (2021). [4]

The COVID-19 vaccines are “still unclear whether they protect people from becoming infected, or from spreading the virus to others,” according to a news feature article published in a global weekly journal of science, Nature. Although these vaccines (developed by Moderna and Pfizer–BioNTech as examples) are “extremely effective at preventing symptomatic disease,” the article furthers, these pose “a problem for herd immunity” as these vaccines are still vague if they are effective to protect people against the virus—the findings that the World Health Organization (WHO) seemingly did not buy as the organization constantly campaigned for the effectiveness of the vaccines decisively encouraging the public to get vaccinated. Doesn’t it sound dubious?

More than that, WHO initiates a strategy to get 40% of the world’s total population vaccinated by the end of 2021 and 70% by mid-2022. [5] This “decisiveness” to get the population vaccinated against the COVID-19 despite findings that these vaccines are not “bulletproof” against the virus is not only alarming but also suspicious in the context that people are either forced to get the shots or left no choice as shots are mandated as the only way for people to avail the basic social services and take back some of the basic rights and freedoms. Doesn’t it sound suspicious, dubious, or even alarming?

What then suspicious with the national vaccination days goal to protect the people?

The Duterte administration initiative to target 15 million Filipinos to get vaccinated as a continued program to protect the people from the virus is as suspicious as it may sound. Why? Because the effectiveness of these vaccines to protect people from the virus are still vague according to the abovementioned legitimate sources—the reason why these vaccines are allowed to use under emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.

Yet, the government made it mandatory as if people are nothing but lab rats. Doesn’t it sound suspicious?

We have been in these trying times for over two years now. We have sacrificed so much for lockdowns, wearing of face masks and the inutile face shields, and travel restrictions that exacerbated expenditure and basic rights. But still, the virus lives on.

Now, as the government seems to appear as boast as the beast to publicize the decreasing number of cases as more people get vaccinated, are we such dumb to believe it, or are we going to go down along with conspiracy theories that the COVID-19 pandemic is a staged event to pave the way to more population control measures to come?

The government efforts to control the pandemic are disheartening in the context that the basic individual rights to autonomy are either set aside or reduced, or even deceived depending on how you see it.

But what is more sensical than the expanded herd immunity approach is to adapt what economic professor Daniel B. Klein refers to as a guerilla warfare approach in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. [6] For Professor Klein,

The best approach is like guerilla warfare carried out by local militias, not a D-Day invasion or a siege on the city. The guerilla tactics are diverse, continually adjusted, even yet to be discovered. They include scouting for hotspots, testing and monitoring for symptoms, using protective equipment, social distancing, self-quarantining when appropriate, shielding the vulnerable, washing your hands, developing better therapeutics, allowing human challenge trials for vaccine development, and many other tactics.

(Klein, 2020)

This 3-day vaccination event by the Duterte administration is akin to a desperate move to continue serving the World Health Organization’s mandate to vaccinate the entire population of the world if possible despite how groggy the effectiveness of the vaccines is. Doesn’t it sound dubious or suspicious? ▲

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[1] PSA. (2021). 2020 Census of Population and Housing (2020 CPH) Population Counts Declared Official by the President. Reference No. 2021–251. July 7, 2021.

[2] Nepomuceno, Priam. (2021). 20M more Pinoys need to be vaxxed to expand PH herd immunity. Philippine News Agency. Sept. 13, 2021.

[3] DOH. (2021). National COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard. Coverage Date: March 1, 2021 – Nov. 22, 2021. Department of Health. Nov. 22, 2021. Accessed Date: Nov. 23, 2021.

[4] Aschwanden, Christie. (2021). Five reasons why COVID herd immunity is probably impossible. Nature. News Feature. March 18, 2021. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-00728-2

[5] Besheer, Margaret. (2021). WHO launches strategy to vaccinate 40% of world against COVID by end of 2021. Voice of America. Oct. 7, 2021. 

[6] Klein, Daniel B. (2020). Herd Immunity Is Misleading. American Institute for Economic Research. May 11, 2020.

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