MANILA, June 28 (Mabuhay) — Metro Manila and 8 other key economic hubs will achieve herd immunity by Christmas if the Delta COVID-19 variant first detected in India does not spread locally, OCTA Research Group said Sunday.

The Philippines has so far reported 17 cases of the Delta variant, including 1 death. The country has yet to report community transmission of the said variant, said molecular biologist Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, member of OCTA Research Group.

Government, meantime, has administered 8.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses as of June 22, with 2,246,897 individuals or 3.87 percent fully vaccinated out of its target 58 million.

“Given the numbers, our hope that we will reach herd immunity in NCR Plus 8 (National Capital Region Plus 8) by Christmas is reasonable. This does not take into effect the Delta variant,” Austriaco said.

“The best vaccine is the vaccine offered to you today. Any protection is better than no protection.”

10 areas outside ‘NCR Plus 8’ among priorities for COVID-19 vaccine distribution – Malacañang

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier said it aims to vaccinate at least 108,000 people a day in Metro Manila, Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Rizal, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao as more shots arrive.

It identified 10 more areas that are experiencing rise in COVID-19 infections, namely, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Baguio, Zamboanga, Dumaguete, Tuguegarao, General Santos, Naga, Legazpi, and Iloilo City, that will be included in the COVID-19 vaccination priority. (MNS)

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