NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Bohol still roughly needs a million doses of the coronavirus disease vaccines even if the Provincial Government has assured some 200,000 jabs as soon as the vaccine would be green-lighted for use here.
With a million doses more to be inoculated to the local population, it still remains uncertain if by then, Bohol would have gained enough protected population to attain what heath authorities theorized as herd immunity.
By herd immunity, heath authorities mean a condition acquired by a community when most of its population becomes immune by vaccination, to an infectious disease, thus preventing the spread of the disease.
For COVID-19, however, WHO admits they do not know how much of the population needs to be vaccinated to attain herd immunity.
For the 1,300,000 Boholanos during the latest census, Bohol Inter Agency task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases spokesperson, Dr Cesar Tomas Lopez, during a radio guesting at DyTR Friday, said they initially target vaccinating 700,000 people with two doses.
With that initial target, Bohol would need at least 1,400,000 doses.
On this, the Provincial Government is accordingly putting up funds for the initial 200,000 doses while a group of local businessmen under the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) is also putting up a similar amount for 200,000 more doses for their frontline workers.
This brings to a total of 400,000 doses assured for Boholanos.
While there were reports of towns also allocating funds for their constituents’ vaccination, except for Tagbilaran City which appropriated P10 million for their vaccines, data from the other towns remain unavailable.
With herd immunity being the target now, the number could be depending on the type of disease, according to WHO.
Herd immunity for measles for example can be attained if 95 percent of the population is vaccinated, for polio, it can be attained if 80 percent of the population is given complete jabs.
With the Bohol initial vaccination target at about 54 percent, the number could be insufficient to form a safety barrier for the remaining Boholanos who could not be vaccinated due to other serious illnesses, known allergies those who are contra-indicated against the vaccines.
Moreover, Dr. Lopez said local authorities are still undecided on which vaccine would be used for Bohol.
He added they are taking into consideration the price, the effectivity and the storage of the vaccines that they’d get for Bohol.
The vaccine from Pfizer, he illustrated, has a high effectivity, but needs special storage facilities.
BNT 162b2, the Pfizer vaccine owns 95% effectivity against the coronavirus disease, like Moderna, is sold at $20 a dose, but would need to be stored in a -94°F freezer, which Bohol does not have.
Other vaccines would only need a temperature of 36°F to 46°F, one which can be provided by standard freezers. (rahchiu/PIA-7/Bohol)