After more than a year of struggling with the pandemic, the much-anticipated start of the government’s nationwide vaccination program was a glimmer of hope for many. However, to aid in the administration of the vaccine, a priority list had to be put into place, which prioritizes the urgent inoculation of frontline health workers, senior citizens, and those with co-morbidities.
This brings about one question for the rest of the population: “how soon can I get my vaccine dose?”
This question is what drove experts from the University of the Philippines Los Baños and De La Salle University-Manila to create the Philippine version of Omni Calculator’s Vaccine Queue Calculator.
The online tool, built by UPLB civil engineer graduate Kenneth Alhambra and DLSU-Manila researcher Reina Sagnip, estimates how many people are ahead of you in the queue to get a COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines, and predicts how long you’d have to wait to get your first dose of the vaccine.
According to Alhambra, the calculation takes into account a person’s age, profession, health condition, and risk factors to identify where they are among the priority list, then sets this against the government’s current vaccination rate as well as a default uptake rate to give an optimistic prediction of when they can get their first jab.
Should the parameters be somewhat confusing, just hover over the question to get a brief explanation of how to evaluate yourself.
However, the calculator sets a disclaimer that the result may vary based on the schedule of the vaccine rollout, the availability of the vaccine, and the schedule of the local government unit administering the vaccines.
Based on the calculator’s estimate, for the government to meet its target of achieving herd immunity – which requires at least 70% of the population inoculated – by 2021, then it would have to administer 1,274,980 doses a week until the end of the year.
However, it also establishes that the uptake rate, or the percentage of people who are willing to be vaccinated once the chance is presented to them, is only at 56% based on a survey conducted last February. Thus, the tall task of inoculated more than a million heads a week is made even taller.
To illustrate, a 30-year-old healthy male who works from home, does not identify as an indigent, and lives in the densely-populated city of Manila, would probably be inoculated for the first time between August 22 to October 31, 2021. Meanwhile, a 50-year old security guard who lives in the same city, identifies as an indigent, and has a history of hypertension will get their first dose earlier, sometime between May 31 to June 4, 2021.
“We know that waiting to get the vaccine might be frustrating. However, by prioritizing those people who are most at risk of hospitalization and death, we should quickly be able to save lives with this fantastic new weapon against the virus,” Alambra said per Manila Bulletin.