THE cities of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue in Cebu have received the much sought after herd immunity against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.

The two are among 23 highly urbanized cities in the country to have achieved the status.

The others are San Juan, Mandaluyong, Pateros, Marikina, Taguig, Pasay, Las Piñas, Parañaque, Manila, Muntinlupa, Makati, Valenzuela, Quezon City, Navotas, Pasig, Malabon, Caloocan, Baguio, Angeles, Iloilo and Davao.

“Out of the highly urbanized cities ay umaabot po na 23 siyudad ang umabot na po ng 70 percent and up na fully vaccinated,” Año said during President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the People Address aired on Tuesday.

“So ibig sabihin po, almost sa target population ay nakamit na ang herd immunity sa target population,” he added.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan said he wanted to give his “biggest thank you” to the Oponganons who answered the call to get vaccinated, leading to their achieving more than their 70 percent target vaccination of their eligible population.

“This is a great pride to us Oponganons. We hope vaccination will continue, and I hope and I pray that before Christmas, we will hit 80 percent of our total population to vaccinate,” he said.

Chan attributed their success to the constant information campaign and pleas to the people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, asking barangay officials to disseminate information about the benefits of getting vaccinated, the putting up of more vaccination sites and requesting private centers to allow vaccination in their areas.

Lapu-Lapu City has 19 vaccination sites.

Chan said they are calling on still more Oponganons to get vaccinated at the upcoming second round of the National Covid-19 Vaccination Days on Dec. 15 to 17, 2021.

For nine days, Lapu-Lapu City has had zero new Covid-19 cases and only 10 active cases, Chan said.

“We also appeal to our senior citizens to get vaccinated since they are the ones who have the lowest turnout. They should not be afraid because the vaccine doesn’t cause death. It’s Covid-19 (that does),” Chan said.

The Visayas Vaccination Operations Center (VVOC) lauded the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu for achieving herd immunity against Covid-19.

“VVOC congratulates Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu cities for reaching the targeted eligible population in their vaccination efforts and we are also proud of their achievement,” VVOC spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche told SunStar Cebu.

In her daily briefing, Loreche said Mandaue had fully vaccinated 77.2 percent of its eligible population, while Lapu-Lapu had fully vaccinated 73.1 percent of its eligible population, based on the data as of Dec. 6, 2021.

Loreche said they continue to encourage the rest of the Metro Cebu local government units to continue with “their very exemplary performances.”

“These LGUs have strategized and have been very innovative in their approaches, and before long we believe that they too will be able to reach herd immunity similar to the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu,” she said.

Department of Health (DOH) data showed that as of Dec. 6, some 92,752,986 doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the country, with 53,492,838 as first dose.

A total of 38,699,023 individuals have been fully vaccinated, while 561,126 got their booster dose.

During his Talk to the People Address, Duterte said aggressive immunization will enable the country to overcome the pandemic.

“Better days ahead because since Dec. 1, we have been on average of 500 to 600 and the number of active cases continues to go down. I’m talking about the Covid,” he said.

“Sa Davao nga last week, there’s only one. Very impressive. We continue to see downward trend of the positivity rate, now only less than two percent. This means that for every 100 persons tested for Covid-19, only a maximum of two people turned out to be positive,” he added.

Duterte expressed optimism that Filipinos will have a good Christmas this year.

Experts consider the Covid-19 vaccination as the country’s protection especially against the threat of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529), which was first detected in Botswana and then in South Africa. (SunStar Philippines)