COVID-19 Crisis: Omicron-adapted vaccines may generate more immunity

As it is no secret that the Omicron variant and its own subvariants proved to be more infectious, COVID-19 vaccines that have been formulated specifically against Omicron are key to help the nation’s population become more immune and bring down the number of new COVID-19 infections. The talk about Omicron-adapted vaccines came up recently as reported by the Manila Bulletin.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin. Some parts in boldface…

Vaccines that specifically target the Omicron variant of Covid-19 may generate more immunity and minimize the severity of the infectious disease in the Philippines, a vaccine expert said on Monday, Aug. 15.

The Department of Health (DOH) previously expressed its plan to procure Omicron-adapted vaccines from other countries once available. Backing this decision, Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) Chairperson Dr. Nina Gloriani said that these variant-adapted vaccines will be beneficial to the Philippines, considering that the dominant variants in the country are BA.4 and BA.5.

“Sa ngayon, ang umiikot na variant sa atin ay BA.4 and BA.5. Kung ibibigay natin itong bagong vaccine in a bivalent form ay mas makakatulong ito na mas mag generate ng immunity against the specific variant na [nasa bansa]. Ito ang basehan nila kaya gusto nilang magbigay ng variant-specific vaccine (Right now, the dominant variants we have are BA.4 and BA.5. If we give this new vaccine in a bivalent form, it will help generate more immunity against the specific variant in the country. This is their basis that is why they want to provide a variant-specific vaccine),” said Gloriani in a “Laging Handa” public briefing.

An Omicron-adapted vaccine, according to Gloriani, has two forms: monovalent and bivalent. Monovalent vaccines are the variant-adapted ones, which means that it specifically targets Omicron and its sub variants. Bivalent, on the other hand, targets both the original strain of Covid-19 and the Omicron variant.

Asked when the Philippines could procure this vaccine, the expert said that it may take a few months as the vaccines need to undergo authorization before it may be declared safe for jabs.

Take note that in recent times, more patients have been declared by the Department of Health (DOH) eligible to get the 2nd booster shot and all local government units (LGUs) nationwide have been ordered by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to ramp up their local vaccine/booster operations. The City Government of Muntinlipa has started expanding its vaccine hubs.

The Philippine Genome Center (PGC) declared the Omicron BA.5 subvariant as the predominant sample they have sequenced. With regards to ensuring effective immunity against Omicron, it would be helpful for the Philippines to acquire a lot more new doses of Sputnik V and Sputnik Light (read and find out by clicking here, here, here, here, and here). At the same time, the national authorities should give people an update about the current status of whatever supplies they still have about COVID-19 vaccines.

Let me end this by asking you readers: Do you want to see the national authorities import a lot of Omicron-adapted vaccines as soon as possible? What is the one thing about Omicron and its subvariants that concern you the most right now? Do you happen to personally know an anti-vaccine fanatic who has been working on spreading lies and misinformation around the Philippines? Do you think that terrorists and anarchists from overseas are funding the anti-vaccine movement of the Philippines?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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