COVID-19 Crisis: Philippine Genome Center declares Omicron subvariant BA.5 as the most predominant sample sequenced

The Philippines continues to count thousands of new COVID-19 cases daily (4,701 on August 5, 2022) and the Department of Health (DOH) stated that the situation may get even worse by the end of this month. In relation to these matters, the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) declared the Omicron BA.5 subvariant as the most predominant sample they have sequenced, according to a Manila Bulletin news report.

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

In the past month alone, Omicron subvariant BA.5 has been the “most predominant” sample sequenced by the Philippine Genome Center (PGC), it said on Monday, Aug. 8.

During the Laging Handa public briefing, PGC Executive Director Dr. Cynthia P. Saloma stated that it was “anywhere above 85 percent” of the sequenced samples. According to Saloma, there are only a few cases of BA.2.3 which was the dominant one back in January this year.

As of August 5, DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said there were 95 new BA.5 cases detected. Of these cases, 67 were from Davao Region, 25 from Soccsksargen, and one case each from Northern Mindanao, Caraga, and the National Capital Region.

“We can probably say that this current wave is really the BA.5 wave in the country,” Saloma stated.

In line with this, she added that with the dominance of BA.5, they have recorded multiple cases of BA.5.2. She explained that in the United States and Europe what’s dominant is BA.5.1.

Currently, PGC has three facilities. The main office is in Diliman, Quezon City, another in PGC Visayas and in PGC Mindanao which all conducts whole genome sequencing.

In Diliman, Saloma said that they process 750 samples a week; 300 in Visayas, and 100 and Mindanao. PGC roughly sequences 1,100 to 1,200 cases weekly. The actual sequencing process lasts for 2 to 3 days. But according to her, from getting the samples up to releasing the results, it usually takes 5 to 6 days.

Meanwhile, she reported that there are no new cases of BA.2.75. DOH reported last Aug. 2 two cases of Omicron subvariant BA.2.75 in the country. Vergeire said that these two cases were from Western Visayas.

Months ago, the Omicron subvariant was the major problem and now its subvariants or mutated forms are impacting public health around the world. Already local government units (LGUs) have been ordered to ramp up the local vaccination and booster rollouts in connection with the new infections believed to have been caused by Omicron BA.5 subvariant.

In relation to the recent developments, I urge you readers to inform the members of your local community to get vaccinated or boosted to truly achieve improved resistance against COVID-19. Be encouraged to contact your local vaccination site or the local authorities to get yourselves immunized from COVID-19. Be aware that more previously boosted patients were declared eligible to have access to the 2nd booster shot and you might be among those who qualified. Also, do not forget to follow health protocols and prioritize your outdoor trips. Never let the anti-vaccine fanatics fool you, even if they become violent and/or more aggressive towards you with their lying, hypnotizing propaganda and fear tactics.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the Philippine Genome Center’s findings about the Omicron subvariant BA.5? Does the said subvariant make you feel afraid to go out knowing how infectious it is? Have you received your 2nd booster shot already? Did anyone from the anti-vaccine fanatics approach you recently?

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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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

COVID-19 Crisis: Philippines pandemic exit strategy coming

It has been over two years since the entire Philippines first got setback economically and socially by the COVID-19 crisis. Until now, people, private organizations and businesses are still struggling to fully recover from the varied effects that come with government-imposed restrictions, limitations on business-related activities, and the public’s complacency towards COVID-19. It is bad enough that the Philippines now has a core of anti-vaccine fanatics who are misinforming and scaring people while offering no real solutions to the problems.

Speaking of solutions, a pandemic exit strategy is brewing high up in the government and it should be sent to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., soon, according to a recent report by the Manila Bulletin.

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

A Cabinet member has committed that the proposed pandemic exit strategy crafted by a panel of medical experts will be endorsed to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Former presidential adviser and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said that Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos will endorse the proposal which the government can adopt to help the country transition from pandemic to normalcy.

In a statement, Concepcion said “Abalos said he will endorse the presentation of the proposals to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.”

Abalos also said that he “will organize a meeting with the Department of Health (DOH) to initiate more vaccinations at the community level.”

Abalos also agreed on the importance of raising booster vaccination rates to 70 percent of the eligible population which is included in the pandemic exit proposal.

“Kailangan ng isa pa. Isa pa para sa mga pamilya, isa pa para sa komunidad (We need one more One more for our families, one more for our community),” Abalos said.

With this, Concepcion also renewed his call to push for one more massive effort for vaccination.

Complacency is really the problem. There is no sense of urgency because people don’t see what might happen if our wall of immunity starts to weaken,” he said.

Concepcion explained that re-infections are quite possible, and that cases of long Covid have grave consequences on productivity, and ultimately, the economy.

He echoed Abalos’ statement that “we need to convince people that they need boosters.”

The DILG Chief recently met with Concepcion and members of the Advisory Council of Experts (ACE), a group of medical doctors, scientists and academics comprising the country’s foremost authorities on public health, molecular biology, disaster resilience, data insight and analysis, and economics.

The group’s proposal outlined parameters to ease the country into normalcy and encourage economic activity without risking the public’s health. It has been met with approval from the private sector, including several industry groups and businessmen.

Abalos further expressed optimism as the proposal was an initiative of the private sector, and that it puts emphasis on the importance of achieving high booster vaccination rates.

As you can see in the above news excerpt, national government officials, private sector members and other stakeholders have been brainstorming and discussing ways with the exit strategy in mind to truly lift the nation further from the COVID-19 crisis. Former presidential adviser Joey Concepcion is absolutely right when he pointed to complacency which is an enduring problem on the part of the public when it comes to how they perceived COVID-19, vaccination and health. I am certain that a lot of people got fooled by the anti-vaccine fanatics who keep on spreading misinformation and fear.

On the aspect of vaccination, I do agree that a major renewal of COVID-19 vaccination and booster shot rollouts should happen soon. I’m talking about reopening the closed vaccination sites, deploying a lot of health workers with lots of supplies of vaccines prepared, and making sure that each vaccination hub is well organized (note: we don’t want a repeat of the very embarrassing Parañaque Pfizer vaccine launch of May 2021). In addition, the national authorities should come up with ways to make economic recovery more achievable for businesses and employees. On the topic of new infections caused by Omicron and its subvariants, our nation should serious consider acquiring more Sputnik vaccines as those have proven to be very effective against Omicron. Whatever the details they are discussing, the pandemic exit strategy for the Philippines something that everyone should watch out for.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this new development? Do you think that the national authorities and other stakeholders will be able come up with a pandemic exit strategy that will work? Do you think that the anti-vaccine fanatics will ramp up their misinformation campaign and fearmongering now that they know a national pandemic exit strategy is being developed? Do you think President Marcos will spend sufficient time to review the pandemic exit strategy before issuing his response?

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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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others as well as making a donation to support my publishing.. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Comorbid patients should be declared eligible for 2nd booster shot

As there are indications that the daily count of new cases of COVID-19 in the National Capital Region (NCR) here in the Philippines is climbing up (read here and here) and that the Omicron subvariant is slowly infecting more people, a recommendation to declare comorbid patients eligible for the 2nd booster shot (note: the 4th shot for most brands of COVID-19 vaccines) has been made, according to an article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA). It remains to be seen how fast the national authorities in-charge of COVID-19 vaccination operations will respond.

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

The number of ailments in a person should also be considered as criteria for second booster eligibility, the country’s Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) said Wednesday.

In a Laging Handa briefing, VEP chairperson Nina Gloriani said a person who has two or more diseases is similarly vulnerable to severe coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“We agree, we actually recommend na ‘yong mga may comorbidities (masama) kasi hindi rin natin malaman ano ang level ng immunocompromised na tinatawag sa comorbidity (We agree, we actually recommend that those with comorbidity should be eligible because we don’t really know the level of immunocompromised among those with comorbidity),” she said.

Gloriani cited a recent study showing that for those with two or more ailments, such as diabetes and chronic respiratory illness, the level of immunocompromise is higher.

“Mas mataas ang immunocompromise ng taong ‘yon so kailangan nating ma-consider ‘yon sa pagbibigay ng second booster as well. Hindi necessarily sinabi nating parang wala siyang immunocompromise, kailangan malaman natin ‘yong medical status plus how many ba ‘yan (Their immunocompromise is higher so we should also consider that when giving second booster. We need to know their medical status and the number of their disease),” she said.

At present, immunocompromised persons who are eligible for a second booster include those who have cancer, HIV/AIDS, primary immunodeficiency, those who take immunosuppressants, and those who received an organ transplant.

Let me end this by asking you readers: Do you believe it is high time for comorbid patients to be declared eligible to receive 2nd booster shots? Do you think that the national authorities in-charge of vaccination operations should give comorbid patients the green light for 2nd booster shots? Are there many comorbid patients in your local community who successfully received their first booster shots already? Did any anti-vaccine fanatic out there bother you lately?

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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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

COVID-19 Crisis: Pfizer, Moderna, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Sputnik Light and Janssen approved by FDA for use as 2nd booster

The path for boosted patients of the Philippines towards the much-discussed 2nd booster shot (note: the 4th shot following the first two doses and the first booster shot) for COVID-19 is looking clearer as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the COVID-19 vaccines of Pfizer, Moderna, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Sputnik Light and Janssen for use as 2nd boosters, according to a report by the Philippine News Agency (PNA). Take note that the number of boosted patients nationwide is less than 13 million.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA report. Some parts in boldface…

Pfizer, Moderna, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Sputnik Light and Janssen Covid-19 vaccines have been approved as second booster shots by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a health official said Tuesday.

In a televised public briefing, National Vaccination Operations Center chair Myrna Cabotaje said the FDA has issued an emergency use authorization for the six brands.

The center is still waiting for the review and final recommendations of the Health and Technology Assessment Council (HTAC).

“Ready na ang guidelines, idadagdag lang natin ‘yung provisions ng FDA EUA saka final recommendations ng (The guidelines are ready, we’ll just add the provisions of FDA EUA and final recommendations of) HTAC,” Cabotaje said.

The administration of second booster shot which was originally slated April 20 is expected to start next week.

Healthcare workers, senior citizens, and immunocompromised will be prioritized.

Cabotaje said the second booster shot may be given four months after the first booster dose.

“Gagawin natin sa NCR [National Capital Region] muna, although nagre-request ang Region 3 and Region 4A na isama na sila and then expand natin pagkatapos (We’ll do it in NCR first, although Region 3 and Region 4A have requested to be included and then we’ll expand afterwards),” she added.

In another article published by PNA, Cabotaje stated that booster shots could prevent a possible surge of new COVID-19 cases in the middle of May. She also expressed concern about current low booster shot rate of the nation as a whole.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this new development? If you have been boosted for COVID-19 already, how long has it been since you got your first booster shot? Have you contacted your local vaccination team to find out if you are cleared to avail of a 2nd booster shot from them? Do you still remember the brand of vaccine used for your first booster shot?

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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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Have you received your booster shot already?

Are you one of the many millions of people here in the Philippines who got fully vaccinated (received two doses of most COVID-19 vaccines) for COVID-19 months ago? By now, you should be eligible to receive your booster shot and I wonder if your local government’s vaccination team contacted you about the said shot. Also, have you taken the effort to contact the local vaccination team about getting boosted?

The reason I ask these questions because only a minority of the Philippines’ fully vaccinated population got boosted and the number of boosted people is growing so slowly as revealed in a Philippine News Agency (PNA) report.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA report. Some parts in boldface…

An infectious disease expert on Monday urged fully vaccinated individuals to get their booster shots to prevent another surge of Covid-19 cases.

In a televised public briefing, Department of Health – Technical Advisory Group member Edsel Salvaña said that the resurgence of infections is a possibility since Covid-19 “showed surprises worldwide”.

We have tools with which we have turned Covid into almost an endemic virus. Kung mapapagpatuloy pa natin ‘to, wala na pong bagong variant na lumabas, tuloy-tuloy na po ‘yan (If we can continue these, no new variant comes out, these will go on) towards endemicity,” he said.

The administration of a fourth dose for the immunocompromised, Salvaña said, is being studied as data are “still very preliminary” worldwide.

To date, 65,171,415 Filipinos are fully vaccinated while 11,530,728 of them have booster shots.

The vaccination for the pediatric sector also continues to gain momentum, with some 11 million aged 5 to 17 receiving at least one dose.

This number is expected to increase following the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the use of the Sinovac vaccine for minors, pending the release of the final guidelines.

As seen in the above report, only 11,530,728 people successfully got boosted. That number is only 17.69% of the grand total 65,171,415. Still a very long way to go before the count of the boosted patients even comes close to the grand total.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this new development? If you have been fully vaccinated already, how long has it been since that happened? If you have not received your booster shot yet, have you tried contacting the local vaccination team to verify if you are eligible and if there is a booster shot reserved for you?

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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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

COVID-19 Crisis: Vaccination bus launched in Las Piñas City!

Have you ever imagined entering a passenger bus not for traveling but rather to get vaccinated for COVID-19? That sort of thing became a reality in the City of Las Piñas as the City Government launched its bus for COVID-19 vaccination (referred to locally as “Bakuna Bus”) as part of their effort to reach out to the unvaccinated constituents while also participating officially in the latest 3-day national vaccination drive, according to a Manila Bulletin news report.

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

The vaccination bus. (source – City of Las Piñas Facebook page)

The Las Pinas City government deployed on Thursday (March 10) a “Bakuna Bus” to administer Covid-19 vaccines to residents who remain unvaccinated.

Mayor Imelda Aguilar said the City Health Office (CHO), in coordination with the Las Pinas Rotary Club, deployed the vaccine bus to Barangay CAA as part of the three-day national vaccination on March 10 to 12.

Aguilar said the bus will serve the residents who are still unvaccinated and those who are set to receive their booster shot.

Inside the bus. (source – City of Las Piñas Facebook page)
Vaccination staffer verifies the card of a patient inside the bus. (source – City of Las Piñas Facebook page)

She said the city government is calling on all the unvaccinated and those who want to get the booster shot in Barangay CAA and nearby barangays to visit the mobile vaccination unit.

The mayor said the deployment of the bus is also part of the city government’s “Bayanihan sa Bakunahan sa Las Pinas”.

Aguilar said the vaccination team headed by CHO officer-in-charge Dr. Julie Gonzalez also conducts house-to-house vaccinations for senior citizens and persons with disability (PWDs).

She assured the residents that getting vaccinated against Covid-19 is very safe and will help boost their immune system against the virus.

The above report ended stating that mayor Aguilar assured local residents that getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is very safe and will boost their immune system. Take note that recently, the City Government announced that its total inoculation count surpassed 1.3 million and that includes a little over 180,000 booster shots recorded.

As already confirmed by various sources, the urgency for people to get vaccinated or boosted has faded as Metro Manila and some other places around the country have been placed under the Alert Level 1 status which allows more people to move around more freely complete with a reduction on restrictions. The challenge for both the national government and the local government units (LGUs) is to convince the people – especially the unvaccinated – to avail of the free vaccination shots.

Back to the vaccination bus, this project by City Government and its strategic partner is a nice idea and could help the local authorities reach out to the people in close proximity to the residential areas. There are lots of vaccination sites around the city for local to visit but the local authorities apparently decided to go all-out to get more people immunized. It also remains to be seen if other local governments will be inspired to come up with their own vaccination buses.

For all the unvaccinated people reading this, any Las Piñas resident who has yet to get registered for the free COVID-19 vaccines can learn the ways by clicking here. Anyone who is ready and willing to register online can click bit.ly/LasPiñasVaccination

Meanwhile, the City Government is already handling the online registration process for COVID-19 vaccination for local minors (aged 5 to 17) which can be done at http://laspinascityonline.laspinascity.gov.ph/eCVRS/

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a resident of Las Piñas City, what is your reaction to this recent development? If a vaccination bus arrives at your local community, will you avail of the free vaccination service? Do you want your homeowners’ association (HOA) to reach out to the City Government to have the vaccination bus serve your local community?

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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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Las Piñas City’s vaccination count surpasses 1.3 million

It took two weeks but Las Piñas City has finally surpassed the mark of 1,300,000 in its ongoing inoculation/vaccination count according to the most recent COVID-19 statistics the City Government announced via social media.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the latest display of data regarding Las Piñas City’s COVID-19 vaccination statistics.

The official numbers.

As seen in the above statistics accurate of as March 6, 2022, the total inoculation count of the city has been recorded at 1,314,558 (almost 26,000 higher compared to the previous count of February 20, 2022). Their vaccination count of patients who received the first dose was at 585,882 while the number of patients who received their 2nd dose (which made them fully vaccinated) has reached 560,876.

On the adult population, category A4 remains the most vaccinated with over 400,000 counted which includes the first dose, the second dose and Janssen vaccination. On the Pediatric A3 numbers, more than 100,000 patients aged 12 to 17 have been vaccinated (note: first and second dose numbers combined). Patients aged 5 to 11 who got vaccinated surpassed the mark of 20,000 (note: first and second dose numbers combined).

When it comes to the booster shots, the latest number is 182,678. That’s still a small number when compared to the city’s official count of patients who received their 2nd dose.

As reported already in the news, the urgency to get vaccinated or boosted has faded somewhat with the public, especially in Metro Manila and other areas that have been placed under Alert Level 1 status. The local government units (LGUs) and the national authorities will have to come up with ways to encourage the unvaccinated to get vaccinated, as well as encouraging the fully vaccinated patients to get their free booster shots. Think about this carefully. If not enough people get vaccinated/boosted at the vaccination sites because many are enjoying the freedom of Alert Level 1, then it can lead to the spoilage or expiration of many vaccines that end up unused.

For all the unvaccinated people reading this, any Las Piñas resident who has yet to get registered for the free COVID-19 vaccines can learn the ways (4 methods) by clicking here. Anyone who is ready and willing to register online can click bit.ly/LasPiñasVaccination

Meanwhile, the City Government is already handling the online registration process for COVID-19 vaccination for local minors (aged 12 to 17) which can be done at http://laspinascityonline.laspinascity.gov.ph/eCVRS/

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are  a resident of Las Piñas City, what is your reaction to this recent development? Did you notice that the lines at local vaccination sites have been shorter compared to just a few months ago? Do you think that anti-vaccination fanatics are influencing members of your local community to avoid vaccination?

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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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Booster shots received by ten million people all over the Philippines

As the heavily congested Metro Manila is now on its 4th day under the Alert Level 1 status, people are now enjoying more freedom of movement and the food-beverage business joints are able to accommodate more customers who physically spend time at their respective venues. Along the way, there are some noticeable positive developments about business in the Philippines getting reported. Regardless, there is still the need to keep on following health protocols and face masks are still to be used even though the national daily count of new COVID-19 cases remains relatively low.

There is, however, the need to be vaccinated as well as boosted for COVID-19. No matter how loud the anti-vaccine fanatics rant and complain, nothing changes the fact that COVID-19 vaccines are a major factor on helping the Philippines gradually recover and rise up from this pandemic. More on the topic vaccination, it was revealed that the number of fully vaccinated patients (those who received two doses of most COVID-19 vaccine brands) who got boosted (the 3rd shot/booster shot) has reached ten million, as stated in a recent report by the Manila Bulletin. The number of fully vaccinated people in the Philippines is over sixty million.

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

A total of 63 million individuals in the Philippines have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), but only 10 million individuals have so far received their booster jab, said National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 special adviser Dr. Teodoro “Ted” Herbosa on Tuesday, March 1.

Herbosa, in an ANC interview, reiterated the importance of a booster jab despite having been “fully immunized” against the disease.

The idea of the booster is to just increase your immunity. You already have immunity. Let me make that clear: if you are fully vaccinated, your immunity does not disappear but your antibodies actually wane. That’s why the booster shot stimulates your immune system to produce more antibodies against COVID-19,” said Herbosa.

He also added that while it stimulates the immune system in producing more antibodies, it actually gives “additional protection” against the disease and its emerging variants.

Meanwhile, Herbosa disclosed that the booster inoculation is one of the “slow parts” of the country’s vaccination program.

“Kailangan magpa-booster ha. If you have been fully vaccinated, you should get boosted [as well]. This is another slow part of our vaccination program. We’ve vaccinated 63 million but only 10 million have come forward to get their booster shots. Reminder to the public na hindi enough ang two doses, kailangan kumuha rin tayo ng third dose (We need to get boosted. If you have been fully vaccinated, you should get boosted as well. This is another slow part of our vaccination program. We’ve vaccinated 63 million but only 10 million have come forward to get their booster shots. I just want to remind the public that two doses are not enough, we need to get boosted),” he added.

The above report ended stating that based on the Department of Health’s (DOH) National COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard statistics, 63,188,209 people were fully vaccinated while 10,137,607 people got their respective booster shots as of February 21, 2022. There is still a very long way to go before the booster shot count reaches 60,000,000.

While the Omicron variant does not look like a major problem anymore here in the Philippines, there is still that possibility that another coronavirus variant might come out. Whenever a new variant comes out, concerns or doubts about the protection provided by vaccines always emerge in people’s minds.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this new development? Are most of the people in your local community fully vaccinated or boosted for COVID-19 already?

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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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

COVID-19 Crisis: More than 75% of Philippines target population declared fully vaccinated

When it was reported that the nation of Denmark lifted most of its pandemic restrictions, more than 60% of their population received a third dose of COVID-19 vaccines. Three doses meaning getting fully vaccinated with two doses of most vaccines and getting boosted with the third shot afterwards. Here in the Philippines, there is still a long way to go before 60% of the population gets boosted but the country has been progressing as more than 75% of Filipinos under the target population got fully vaccinated (2 shots), according to an article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA report. Some parts in boldface…

A total of 59,120,367 individuals nationwide or 75.7 percent of the target population are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), according to the National Task Force Against Covid-19.

In an interview Wednesday night, National Task Force Against Covid-19 consultant Dr. Maria Paz Corrales said the number is 53 percent of the total Philippine population.

More are expected to receive the life-saving shots as the national government further ramps up its vaccination campaign, expanding it to children aged 5 to 11 years old starting February 4, and in provinces badly hit by Typhoon Odette last year.

Corrales said a total of 780,000 doses of reformulated Pfizer vaccine for this age group would arrive February 3.

She added that the government is planning to hold another round of the national vaccination days for the young age group that would also cover booster doses.

“Meron tayong pinaplanong (We are planning a) national vaccination day that will cover the pediatric population, that’s 5 to 17, and then for the senior citizens, and the booster. We have to ramp up the three so the government is planning to have a national vaccination days para tumaas ang (to increase the number of) vaccination. We hope to achieve 90 million by June,” Corrales said.

In areas stricken by “Odette”, Corrales said the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson and the Sputnik Light vaccines are recommended since they get protected against the disease immediately, without having to return for a second dose.

“The problem is ‘yung mga Odette stricken areas, may ibang may problema pa sa storage kasi ‘yung iba wala pang kuryente, may iba naman, ‘yung mga vaccinators apektado dahil sa (There are areas with storage problems since some are still without power. There are also some vaccinators affected by the) Omicron surge but they have fully recuperated and they are going back to work. The government is doing all its efforts to help build again those Odette stricken areas,” Corrales said.

The country was at the height of its national vaccination days in December when “Odette” struck provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao, causing massive flooding and power outages that went on for days, disrupting the vaccination program in many areas.

Just a few days ago, it was announced that the planned vaccination drive of younger minors aged 5 to 11-years-old would be delayed. Nationwide, local government units have been accepting and processing the registration related to the said vaccination drive. Take for example the City Government of Las Piñas confirmed that more than 9,000 children (aged 5 to 11) were registered. For sure the national count of people getting vaccinated, fully vaccinated and boosted will go up. How long it will take for a majority of the fully vaccinated Filipinos to get boosted remains uncertain.

Regardless, I should reiterate that the Philippines should acquire more Sputnik V and Sputnik Light vaccines to immunize people from coronavirus and its variants (including the more infectious Omicron variant). For related articles about Sputnik versus Omicron, click here, here, here, here and here.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the current vaccination efforts of the Philippines? Do you think the government officials from the national level down to the local level are doing the best they can to get as many people immunized from COVID-19?

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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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

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COVID-19 Crisis: Philippines vaccine expert panel members call Sputnik Light a good booster shot against COVID-19

I said it before and I will say it again – the Philippines should acquire a lot more supplies of Sputnik V and Sputnik Light vaccines to be used in nationwide vaccination for COVID-19 especially as the Omicron variant has been present locally (reportedly over a thousand cases nationwide) and already there were people who died because of it. There are already studies confirming that Sputnik vaccines are effective against the highly infectious Omicron variant (for references, click here, here and here). Recently a few experts on vaccination here in the Philippines expressed their views about the single-dose Sputnik Light vaccine as reported by CNN Philippines. Here is hoping the national government will pay close attention to the details.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the CNN Philippines news report. Some parts in boldface…

Gamaleya Institute’s single-dose Sputnik Light vaccine is a good booster shot candidate against coronavirus infection, according to members of the Philippines’ vaccine expert panel.

Pediatric infectious diseases specialist Dr. Maria Liza Gonzales shared the study on 84 individuals who received Sputnik Light. This measured the antibody, T-Cell responses, and the level of virus neutralizing activity against variants of concern — including the Alpha, Delta, and Omicron variants.

It showed Sputnik Light enhanced the immune response of previously infected individuals on the seventh day after vaccination. Those who never had COVID-19 infection, meanwhile, only developed antibody response after 21 days.

“Can it be useful as a booster? I think the studies would show that it would. It would actually enhance the immune response in those who were previously vaccinated and in fact…higher pa ang response in those who were previously infected. So, whether infected or not and given primary immunization, I think the Sputnik would be a good booster to be given, to be used,” Gonzales told a forum on Tuesday.

She noted that Sputnik Light has the same components as the first dose of Sputnik V.

Another vaccine expert panel member, Dr. Derrick Sumalapao, said the revaccination with Sputnik Light among inoculated individuals could elicit neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron variant.

“The good thing is there is presence of such neutralizing antibody to Omicron variant among the study participants revaccinated with Sputnik Light,” he said.

A study conducted by Italian Spallanzani Institute and Gamaleya Center also found that the level of antibodies fighting the Omicron variant among those vaccinated with Sputnik V did not decline as much as Pfizer. The study involved 51 people inoculated with Sputnik V and 17 with Pfizer.

It showed Sputnik V has more than twice the number of neutralizing antibodies to Omicron.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this newest development? Are you convinced that the national government as well as local government units (LGUs) should seriously consider acquiring more doses of Sputnik V and Sputnik Light vaccines to really immunize as many Filipinos as possible as part of the effort to lift the country up from this pandemic? Are you aware that the nation of Tunisia approved the use of Sputnik Light as their universal booster for COVID-19 vaccines?

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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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/