The government is aiming for a target of 100% vax

The Philippines could increase its COVID-19 immune vaccination target from 70% to 100% of the country’s population to prevent community transmission of emerging variants of the coronavirus, a Department of Health (DOH) official said on Sunday.
INSTANTANEOUS. A family takes a groufie with a Belen – a nativity scene showing the Holy Family – inside Paco Park on Sunday, December 5, 2021. With Metro Manila below Alert Level 2, the park is open to the public for free every day. from 8 a.m. at 17 o’clock Danny Pata

Under Secretary of Health Leopoldo Vega, in an interview with dzBB radio, said the 70% target would only protect people from severe infection with the original strain of coronavirus. “With the new variants, we have to increase herd immunity to 90% or maybe 100%,” Vega said in Filipino. More than 55.4 million people have already received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Some 37 million people are already fully vaccinated, according to the National COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard, as of December 4. With the threat of the Omicron variant, Vega urged the public to get vaccinated, saying the vaccines are effective against serious infections, even with the variants. “This is one of the ways to stop the transmission or viral loads of COVID-19,” Vega said. The new variant, which was first detected in South Africa, has been registered in Europe, the United States and parts of Asia. Omicron is labeled as a “variant of concern” like the Delta variant by the World Health Organization. The Philippines has yet to detect the Omicron variant in the country, but Malacañang is monitoring the genome sequencing results of three travelers from South Africa, Burkina Faso and Egypt, who have tested positive for the disease. coronavirus. The COVID-19 pandemic response team at the University of the Philippines (UP PRT), meanwhile, said being inoculated with the primary doses of vaccines and boosters could still help fight the Omicron variant if she enters the country. UP PRT spokesperson Dr Jomar Rabajante told dzBB radio that they were monitoring studies from other countries regarding the Omicron variant of COVID-19. “Many experts in other countries say that the Omicron is highly transmissible, even up to three times more transmissible than the Delta variant. It is spreading rapidly and this is evident in South Africa, which reports many cases of Omicron variants, ”Rabajante said. Rabajante said the higher transmissibility of Omicron compared to Delta can be seen in the case of South Africa, which was not detected in the country until early November, but has already infected many individuals a month later. On the other hand, he said it took a few months for the Delta variant to spread to various countries. He also noted, however, that some experts said the severity of these cases was slight, but this is still subject to verification by the WHO. Rabajante also cited a study that showed the rate of reinfection was high among those who had previously had COVID-19. “What we’re sure for now is that amid the presence of the Omicron variant, it might help if you’re already vaccinated,” he said. The Philippine Genome Center on Saturday raised the possibility that the Omicron variant has already crossed the country’s borders. However, no case has been detected to date out of the 18,000 samples sequenced. The Department of Health (DOH) said on Friday that 253 travelers from South Africa, three from Burkina Faso and 541 from Egypt had arrived in the country from November 15 to 29. Three of them tested positive for COVID-19. As Christmas approaches, Rabajante reminded the public that even though there has been a drop in the number of new cases reported, people still need to be careful as the disease can still lead to death or land people in units. intensive care. “Although we still don’t have a lot of information, we need to stay safe and continue with the vaccination program. Also, if you’ve been given the green light to receive the booster, do so to boost your immunity when the Omicron gets here, ”he said. A molecular biologist from the OCTA research group has urged the government to procure two anti-COVID drugs that treat all variants of the respiratory disease, including the newly detected Omicron. “We now have drugs from Merck and Pfizer and these drugs will attack all variants the same. The Philippines must try to buy these drugs,” said the father. Nicanor Austriaco. Austriaco, who teaches at the University of Sto. Tomas, who holds a doctorate in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was referring to molnupiravir and paxlovid, which were developed by US pharmaceutical companies Merck and Pfizer, respectively. An expert panel from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this week recommended authorization of molnupiravir to treat COVID-19 after the pill was found to be effective against respiratory disease. The Philippine FDA has issued a special compassionate license for the use of molnupiravir in several hospitals. In November, a shipment of molnupiravir arrived in the Philippines through a local pharmaceutical company. Pfizer’s recent study of paxlovid also showed that the drug could significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization or death for adults at risk of developing severe COVID-19. “Pfizer’s drug called paxlovid is going to be released to the public soon. And once it goes public it will change the way we deal with the pandemic because if you get it, even if it’s Omicron or something , we’ll just give you the And you can take it at home, once in the morning, once in the evening, “Austriaco said. The anti-COVID pill can be prescribed by a doctor for elderly or co-morbid patients, a he said, noting that the drugs will be taken twice a day for five days. It is not recommended to administer the drug to young and healthy people, especially those who have been vaccinated against COVID- 19, because their body is able to fight off the virus, Austriaco said. “This is by prescription only, so it’s in the hospital. The doctor has to prescribe it, “he said of the two drugs.” We anticipate that these two drugs will probably be used in our hospitals in the coming weeks. Austriaco said studies have yet to show whether current COVID-19 vaccines are less effective against the Omicron variant, which worries some scientists as they recognize that the spike protein in the new strain is significantly different from other variants. . “There is no definitive pa data (yet). It’s only been a week and it takes two weeks to do these experiments,” he said. “We know vaccines always protect you. We still don’t know how good that protection is. We will find out in a week. By next week we will have an idea of ​​the quality of the protection, “he said. The head of the International Red Cross said the emergence of the Omicron variant is the “ultimate proof” of the danger of uneven vaccination rates around the world. In an interview with Agence France-Presse during a visit to Moscow, Francesco Rocca, the president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, also expressed his concerns about politicization migrants and the plight of civilians in Afghanistan as “The scientific community has warned (…) of new variants in places where the vaccination rate is very low,” he said. About 65% of people in high-income countries have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, but just over 7% in low-income countries, according to UN figures. Western countries have been accused of piling up vaccines and the WHO has urged them to avoid rushing to give boosters when millions of people around the world have yet to receive a single dose. With AFP

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