The Philippines will raise its sights higher to protect Filipinos against Covid-19, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Wednesday as he announced that the country’s herd immunity threshold would be expanded.

The government had been aiming to vaccinate 50 to 70 million Filipinos to achieve “population protection” or herd immunity, concepts in vaccination that happen when a population becomes immune to a disease once a certain threshold number of the people is vaccinated.

In a Teleradyo interview, Galvez said the country now targets to vaccinate up to 90 million Filipinos to achieve herd immunity.

“Ang pagkakasabi ng maraming expert, ang antas na maproteksyunan ang ating population ay kailangang iakyat ng 80 to 90 percent. Sa target na 77 million, mga siguro 90 million ang ita-target natin,” he said.

The country’s official population count was at 109,035,343 as of May 2020.

Region IV-A (Calabarzon) had the biggest population among Philippine regions 16,195,042, followed by the National Capital Region with 13,484,462 and Region III (Central Luzon) with 12,422,172.

Recently, the three regions have been seeing a rise in Covid-19 cases due to the highly transmissible Delta Covid-19 variant.

The country has recorded 2,134,005 Covid-19 cases as of Sept. 9.

It has fully vaccinated over 15.2 million Filipinos. John Ezekiel J. Hirro