Delta Plus sub-variant not yet detected in the Philippines – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2021   •   380

MANILA, Philippines – The Delta Plus sublineage (AY.4.2) of COVID-19 Delta variant (B.1.617.2) has not yet been detected in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.

In a statement, the DOH said its biosurveillance activities has been closely monitoring 46 sublineages of the Delta variant, and so far has not detected the AY.4.2 sub-variant.

The DOH issued the statement following reports on the increasing case of sublinage AY.4.2 in the United Kingdom (UK) and its detection in other countries.

“As of this moment, experts are still studying the potential impact of the Delta sublineage on the transmissibility and severity of COVID-19. The particular Delta sublineage has not yet been detected among the COVID-19 positive samples sequenced in the country,” the department said.

Delta variant has been listed by the World Health Organization as a variant of concern but its subtypes are not.

Health experts in the UK have earlier reported that the AY.4.2 may be 10% more transmissible than its parent variant.

The Delta Plus subtype is a mutation of the original Delta variant. Its behavior, severity, and transmission frequency are still being monitored.

But whatever the variant that may appear, the DOH stressed that mutations occur as part of the natural process of virus evolution.

It reminded the public to be vigilant and continue adhering to health protocols, adding that all COVID-19 cases should be managed similarly and as per current quarantine protocols.

“Each case must be immediately isolated and contact traced upon detection. Current evidence also showed that the presence or absence of a variant of interest or concern among cases do not dictate the appropriate clinical management,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire.

“We should always remain vigilant against COVID-19, moreso that we are safely reopening our economy,” she added.

The DOH also reminded the public that, while variants may contribute to increase or aggravate COVID-19 cases, strict and proper adherence to the minimum public health standards reduces the risk of getting exposed to COVID-19.

It also reiterated its call on the public to get vaccinated for additional protection against COVID-19.

“Our proper adherence to the minimum public health standards is still our best protection and is the best way to curb the transmission, prevent the spread of the variants and slow down the appearance of mutations,” Vergeire said.

“Getting fully-vaccinated is also another layer of protection that can help us from getting severe COVID-19,” she added.

PNP backs DOH’s recommendation to keep PH under COVID-19 Alert Level 2

Robie de Guzman   •   December 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has expressed support to the recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH) to keep the country under Alert Level 2 amid the declining cases of coronavirus infection.

In a statement, PNP chief Police General Dionardo Carlos said the existing alert status in the country should not be downgraded yet due to the looming threat of the newly discovered Omicron COVID-19 variant.

“The time isn’t ripe yet since it’s the holiday season and we have observed more people becoming complacent to go outdoors, disregarding health protocol, and unmindful of the risks,” he said.

He also believes that a shift to a more relaxed quarantine level will affect the compliance of the public to minimum health standards.

Carlos, however, said that the PNP will abide by decision that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases on the implementation of COVID-19 alert levels system.

“The local government units are vested the authority to issue Executive Orders that police personnel are duty bound to enforce,” he said.

Metro Manila is under Alert Level 2 until December 15. Other areas in the country have also been placed under the same level.

The DOH earlier said that the IATF is still discussing whether or not to lower the alert level in the capital region.

PH gov’t eyeing to administer 7 million COVID-19 jabs in second vaccination drive

Robie de Guzman   •   December 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is aiming to administer seven million COVID-19 vaccine jabs for the second round of nationwide vaccination drive, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Tuesday.

The second mass immunization campaign is scheduled from December 15 to 17.

“Ang tina-target natin dito, mga 7 million para second dose, para maabot yung ating pinupuntiryang 54 million by the end of the year na bigyan ng kumpletong bakuna,” Duque said in a televised public briefing.

This target is lower than the first vaccination drive conducted last November 29 to December 1 and later extended until December 3.

The government had hoped to inoculate 9 million people during the first three-day immunization campaign. More than 10 million were vaccinated in the extended drive.

The vaccination drive was launched in a bid to scale up the country’s vaccination rate to achieve population protection against COVID-19.

So far, more than 38 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated out of the 91.7 million doses administered since the immunization was rolled out in March.

The number of individuals who have received their first dose rose to 56.7 million.

The government is aiming to fully vaccinate at least 54 million by the end of the year.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier expressed hope that the second vaccination drive will also be successful.

“We will have a second round of Bayanihan Bakunahan from December 15 to 17. I hope that we would have the same success. But this time lesser because parang naubos na natin ang Pilipino sa ‘yung what counts sa bakuna kaya medyo there’s a slowdown of the COVID-19,” he said.

He also expressed optimism that the Philippines will be able to overcome the pandemic amid increasing vaccination rate in the country.

24K expired AstraZeneca vaccine doses sa Western Visayas, susuriin kung maaari pang gamitin – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2021

Ipinapasuri na ng Department of Health (DOH)-Western Visayas kung maaari pang gamitin ang nasa 24,000 doses ng AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine na nag-expire noong November 30.

Bahagi ito ng libu-libong supply ng AstraZeneca vaccine na ipinadala sa Western Visayas noong buwan ng Oktubre.

Nasa 45,000 doses sa mga ito ang ipinadala sa Negros Occidental noong Nobyembre 8. Batay sa ulat ng provincial government, 14,920 doses pa ang natitira sa mga ito at hindi nagamit hanggang sa mag-expire noong Nobyembre 30.

Ayon kay Negros Occidental provincial administrator Atty. Rayfrando Diaz II, hindi ginamit ang mga nasabing bakuna dahil tumanggi umano ang mga local government unit (LGU) na tanggapin ito dahil sa nalalapit na expiration date.

“We value our vaccines. We want to use them. We do not delay, but we value more the vaccinees. We don’t want to inject vaccines that are about to expire,” ani Diaz.

Ang natitirang 10,000 doses naman ay nasa iba’t ibang lokalidad.

Ayon sa DOH regional office, ipinasasauli na nila ang mga nasabing bakuna upang masuri kung maaari pa itong gamitin.

Ayon kay Bea Camille Natalaray, ang tagapagsalita ng DOH Region 6, hihingan rin ng paliwanag ang concerned LGUs kung bakit hindi nagamit ang nasabing supply.

“Magpapasa sila ng incident report to explain bakit hindi nila na-utilize ang vaccine within the period of time. Ano ang mga factors konoconsider para next time maging part na siya ng ating mga guidelines or protocols or strategies,” ani Natalaray.

Sa ngayon ay hinihintay pa ng DOH-6 ang magiging desisyon ng central office kung dapat bang managot ang mga LGU sa pagkasira ng mga bakuna. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Lalaine Moreno)

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