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WHO Warns of New COVID Surge in 2 Months, Urges PH To Prepare

WHO Warns of New COVID Surge in 2 Months, Urges PH To Prepare

With the high likelihood of another COVID surge taking place after the May 9 elections, the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised the Philippines to prepare for what is to come.

Another COVID Surge After Elections? Here’s What Experts Have To Say

Acting WHO Representative in the Philippines, Dr. Rajendra Yadav, emphasized the importance of wearing masks along with getting booster shots. These small deliberate acts would help the country to prepare for and prevent an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, Dr. Rontgene Solante, an infectious disease specialist, stated on April 1 that highly crowded election-related activities and the “waning immunity” of people who have yet to receive booster shots could be factors responsible for the new COVID surge.

In addition, Dr. Solante mentioned that the relaxed restrictions on mobility among the general population, with some already halting the use of face masks, may help boost the country’s COVID numbers once again.

“Yung iba ‘di na nagsusuot ng face mask. So ito ay multifactorial na pwedeng tataas ang kaso after election or during the next two to three months,” he said.

Moreover, he believes that the government should expand the national vaccination days.

On Wednesday (April 6), Yadav asserted that the continuous “recalibration” of COVID-19 response remains critical. He advocated for house-to-house vaccination, particularly for unvaccinated Filipinos in the elderly and indigent groups.

Status of Vaccination Targets

Last year, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III expected 77 million Filipinos to get full vaccination by the first quarter of 2022. Meanwhile, the target was at 90 million by the second quarter of 2022.

Similarly, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., head of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, also shared his insights on the matter. He stated that by the third quarter of 2022, 71.16 million Filipinos should have received their booster doses.

Only 65,885,048 people had been fully vaccinated as of March 30. First-time recipients of the vaccine account for 64,332,540. And only 12,018,418 people received booster shots out of the total number of people who received full vaccination.

Additionally, Bantay Bakuna, which promotes a comprehensive and systematic rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, reported a seven-day average rate of 182,709 per day on March 29. The group emphasized the projected timeframe if vaccination continues at this rate: It will take two months to reach the target of 77 million people. They will also need another 10 months to fully vaccinate 90 million people.

However, one problem that arose is that 27 million COVID-19 vaccine doses are due to expire in July, according to Presidental Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.

“Time is of the essence,” he highlighted.

“If we do not use these vaccines, we will have wasted the money of Filipino taxpayers. Let us not squander 27 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Breakdown of Vaccination in the Philippines

This breakdown was provided by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on April 7, 2022.

  • Health care workers
    • Complete Dose: 2,930,057
    • First Dose: 2,889,095
    • Booster: 1,282,678
  • Elderly
    • Complete Dose: 6,603,948
    • First Dose: 5,197,798
    • Booster: 1,994,349
  • Persons with comorbidities
    • Complete Dose: 9,250,901
    • First Dose: 7,937,271
    • Booster: 2,228,138
  • Workers in essential services
    • Complete Dose: 19,311,178
    • First Dose: 19,305,554
    • Booster: 4,190,337
  • Indigent
    • Complete Dose: 9,048,328
    • First Dose: 8,980,735
    • Booster: 1,004,033
  • Rest of the population
    • Complete Dose: 18,740,636
    • First Dose: 20,022,087
    • Booster: 1,318,883

Before the new COVID surge could even take place, Yadav advised local chief executives who have less than 70% vaccination coverage to make a conscious effort to meet and exceed the 70% target for the primary series and booster doses.

This is because he believes that the current window of opportunity is closing as the next potential COVID surge approaches the country.

“To reach these vulnerable individuals, LGUs (local government units) must implement a more targeted approach of closer-to-home and mobile vaccinations.”

“We cannot continue waiting for them to come to the health facilities. Instead, we need to reach these unreached populations by deploying outreach vaccinators immediately. In addition, we need to prioritize geographical areas with the largest number of unvaccinated senior citizens,” he insisted.

On April 6, there were 32,463 active COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. The total number of confirmed cases nationwide was at 3,680,244, with 3,588,359 recoveries and 59,422 deaths.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

WHO warns of new COVID surge in 2 months, urges PH to prepare, https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1579884/who-warns-of-new-covid-surge-in-2-months-urges-ph-to-prepare, Accessed April 8, 2022

Health expert warns of COVID-19 ‘surge’ after May 9 polls, https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1576765/ph-may-see-covid-19-case-surge-after-may-9-polls-expert, Accessed April 8, 2022

44 million Filipinos still unboosted after gov’t missed vaccination target, https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1573562/44-million-filipinos-still-unboosted-after-govt-missed-vaccination-target, Accessed April 8, 2022

27 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to expire in July, says Concepcion, https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1577167/27-million-covid-19-vaccine-doses-to-expire-in-july-says-concepcion, Accessed April 8, 2022

Duque: Gov’t eyes 77 million fully vaxxed vs COVID-19 by Q1 2022, https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1525795/duque-govt-eyes-77-million-fully-vaxxed-vs-covid-19-by-q1-2022#ixzz7Q6jhxBQW, Accessed April 8, 2022

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Written by Fiel Tugade Updated a week ago
Medically reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD