Adults urged to get booster shot before May polls: official

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 19 2022 05:03 PM

Residents get their Covid-19 vaccination at the Mandaluyong City Hall on April 19, 2022. The Mandaluyong City Health Department continues with its vaccination as well as booster jabs to all its citizens. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Residents get their Covid-19 vaccination at the Mandaluyong City Hall on April 19, 2022. The Mandaluyong City Health Department continues with its vaccination as well as booster jabs to all its citizens. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - It is important for eligible adults to get a COVID-19 booster shot before the May elections to prevent a possible surge in cases, an official said Tuesday.

The World Health Organization in the Philippines earlier warned that if the country’s vaccination rate does not improve and compliance to minimum health protocols is relaxed, active COVID cases next month could reach 300,000.

Around 36 million fully vaccinated adults in the Philippines eligible for a booster shot have yet to receive it, according to Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, head of the National Vaccination Operations Center.

“We need to err on the side of caution, kailangan mag-additional shot ‘yung ating 18 years old and above para may layer of protection ang buong bansa,” she said in a televised briefing.

(Those 18 years old and above need to get additional shot so the country has a layer of protection.)

“Before the election we have to have the booster, so that everyone will be protected and hopefully the surge will not happen once we get the booster,” Infectious Disease Specialist and Vaccine Expert Panel Member Dr. Rontgene Solante told ABS-CBN News.

Studies showed that the immunity induced by the primary COVID vaccine series wanes over time and amid the presence of newer variants, the experts said.

"Last mile” interventions begin this week, which include ramping up house-to-house COVID jabbing for the primary series and booster shots, Cabotaje said.

The NVOC encourages local governments, private firms, and churches to allow only individuals, who received their first booster shot to enter establishments.

“While vaccination is not mandatory, kaya nga mayroon tayong (that's why we get) consent, it does not preclude private companies, local govt units, even churches to require additional conditions, kailangan may booster shot… for them to enter establishments," she said.

"We encourage that they do this. We have written our LGUs to require sana yung booster para mas maganda yung ating (so we have better) protection."

Cabotaje said fully vaccinating against COVID the target 90 million Filipinos by the end of the Duterte administration this June will be “difficult”. Of this number, nearly 67 million have so far been fully vaccinated.

"Sana kahit ‘yung first milestone natin, we were looking at 70-77 million. March hindi natin naabot, naka-60 million lang tayo, 10 million short. Sana man lang hanggang end of the term, if we can have 77 (million) or better," she said.

(We're hoping to reach even just our first milestone, we were looking at 70 to 77 million. We were unable to reach it this March, we fully vaccinated only 60 million, we were 10 million short. We're hoping we could reach 77 (million) or better by end of the President's term.)

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