February 9, 2023

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

DOH: Low booster coverage can still lead to an increase in COVID-19 cases

The COVID-19 situation in the country is still too uncertain to say the disease has become endemic in the Philippines, said Health Ministry official Dr. mom That’s what Rosario Vergeire said on Tuesday.

“Yes, endemicity is coming soon (but) it’s quite uncertain because of this immunity we’re talking about. We’re not sure and we can’t say with confidence,” Vergeire said at a news conference.

She pointed to the low level of immunity and booster vaccination coverage in the country.

“Mababa ang booster ng population ngayon kaya nakikita natin na maari pang tumaas ulit kung sakali yung mga sakit dito sa ating bansa and the effect of these subvariants on immunity in the population,” Vergeire said.

(The population booster rate is now low, so we see cases potentially rising in the country and the impact of these subvariants on population immunity.)

“But we agree with Dr. Edsel zu, na mukhang dadating na tayo sa punto na ‘yon. But right now we can’t say for sure,” she added.

(But we agree with Dr. Edsel that it looks like we’re getting there. But we can’t say for sure right now.)

dr Edsel Salvana, an infectious disease expert, said at a briefing earlier in the day that the COVID-19 situation appears to have become endemic.

“Nakikita naman talaga natin ditto sa COVID ay mukhang nagiging endemic na siya in the sense na magsi-circulate na iyan na parang sipon. Hindi na siya talaga mawawala na’ng todo,” Salvana said.

(We can actually see that COVID-19 appears to be becoming endemic in the sense that it’s already circulating like the common cold. It’s not really going away completely.)

“And so, for Ganitong Klaseng diseases, Mayroon Talagang fluctuations in the number of cases,” he added.

(And so there really is variation in the number of cases in this type of disease.)

Salvana also said that unlike in the past, the public now relies more on antigen kits than RT-PCR tests. Antigen test results are not recorded.

Salvana said the country can handle the number of cases as long as the health system stays open.

“COVID is becoming really endemic, gnawing at regular diseases that favor a vulnerable population,” Salvana said.

(COVID is becoming truly endemic, it’s like becoming a normal disease, although it can still be deadly, especially for the vulnerable population.)

Salvana encouraged the public to get boosters and wear face masks properly, even though the government has allowed face masks to be worn as an option.

“As long as (there is) a risk … we can use it as an additional public health prevention tool,” Salvana said.

He said the risk of dying from COVID-19 or other respiratory diseases could be minimized if everyone wore masks. —NB, GMA Integrated News