Toward a better Christmas

October 1, 2021

Our prospect for a better Christmas this year is looking good.

Notwithstanding the Delta variant, we have seen a decline in our reproduction number or R naught in the past few days. From 1.3648 on 12 August, the National Capital Region’s (NCR) R naught was down to 0.8555 on 13 September.

The reproduction number is the number of individuals that can get infected once exposed to a Covid-19 positive individual. The ideal reproduction number is below 1, which means that there is less than 1 person getting infected by a Covid-19 positive individual. Medical experts say it is important to maintain R naught to below 1 to ensure that disease transmission is under control.

Aside from a decrease in R naught, we also recorded a slight decline in our positivity rate, which is the percentage of people who tested positive out of all the tests done.

The Department of Health (DoH) reminded though that we should be careful in interpreting such data. In one of my recent press briefings, Dr. Alethea de Guzman of the DoH said that while there is a slowdown in growth rates and reproduction number, there is still a large number of the population being affected.

Dr. De Guzman pointed out that in interpreting the decline in the number of cases, one should also take into account that laboratory output also declined by around 10 percent in the past week. For the NCR, Dr. De Guzman said this means a decrease in the testing output from around 285,000 to 248,000.

And while R naught and positivity rates are declining, the number of people getting protected by vaccines is increasing. More than 45 million vaccine doses or 45,147,577 have been administered nationwide as of the 29 September 2021 National Covid-19 Vaccination Dashboard. Of this number, 21,103,317 are already fully vaccinated.

Of the total vaccine doses administered nationwide, 15,634,542 doses have been administered in the NCR alone, of which 7,208,552 (or 73.73 percent) are fully vaccinated as of 29 September 2021.

We are already nearing the 80 percent population protection target for Metro Manila. And if this happens, we will not just have a better Christmas this year, but there will be more of our labor force who will be able to get back to work, more sectors or industries will be allowed to operate, and more jobs will be created.

There is no more reason not to aim for a better prospect for the last quarter of the year especially when it comes to vaccination as more vaccine supplies are expected to be delivered in the coming months.

From some 69 million total vaccine doses delivered from February to September 2021, we are expecting the total vaccine deliveries to reach 100 million doses by the end of October 2021.

With the expected vaccine deliveries for next month until the year ends, our President has been convinced that it is time to expand our vaccination program to the general population and to children 12-17 years old by October.

This would mean even more people getting vaccinated, which in turn can lead to increased business and consumer confidence. This would be particularly good for the business sector in the fourth quarter as traditionally, the last quarter of the year is when consumer spending is high, which will allow businesses to recover from losses incurred in the past three quarters.

I have been saying that the Filipinos are not lazy, we all want to work for our families. Reaching population protection through vaccination will allow more of our economy to reopen and give many Filipinos a chance to earn a living.

“Balik-buhay para sa hanap-buhay” is more than a catch phrase. It is a campaign that I am championing because I am one with the many Filipinos whose lives have been greatly impacted by Covid-19. If vaccination is the only way for us to be able to safely reopen more of our economy, then I am sure more people will want to have themselves vaccinated.

Tara na po at magbalik-buhay sa bakuna para sa ating hanap-buhay!