Pampanga 'almost' COVID-free, close to reaching herd immunity

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 9) — Pampanga is joining the list of areas reporting very low cases of COVID-19, as it inches closer to achieving herd immunity.

For the past six days, "almost all" towns and cities in the province have recorded zero new infections, Pampanga Provincial Health Officer Dr. Zenon Ponce said Thursday.

He said since Dec. 3, only about one or two fresh cases have been reported in select areas.

"Halos ito pong mga nagpa-positive, nagtatrabaho sa ibang lugar, sa Maynila, pero mga mild lang naman po sila. Hindi po kailangan ma-hospitalize," Ponce said. "Kaya 'yung mga ospital natin dito sa Pampanga, halos wala na po silang COVID patients."

[Translation: Almost all of those who tested positive are working in other areas, in Manila, but they are mild cases. They do not need to be hospitalized. That's why our hospitals here in Pampanga are almost free of COVID-19 patients.]

Ponce said Pampanga has now vaccinated about 65% of its eligible population, only 5% away from herd immunity.

Authorities said areas that have immunized 70% of their target population are considered to have reached the distinction.

Pampanga's vaccination efforts include house-to-house inoculations and mapping of unvaccinated residents, according to Ponce.

"Sa palagay ko po, bago matapos ang buwan na ito, maa-achieve na namin ang herd immunity. By next year po siguro, almost 100% na po ang fully vaccinated," he said.

[Translation: I think we will be able to achieve herd immunity before this month ends. By next year, almost 100% of our population may be fully vaccinated.]