Vaccines do work, regardless of brand, and being vaccinated will help protect against severe forms of COVID-19, whatever variant it is. This was the message stressed by Acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles in a press briefing on January 11, 2022 amid reports of increasing Omicron detection and rising COVID-19 cases in the country in the past few days.
“Kahit matindi makahawa ang Omicron, hindi po tayo helpless; we can do something about it. Magpabakuna na po tayo, anumang brand ito, para maging ligtas, para sa karagdagang proteksyon natin, ng ating mga mahal sa buhay at ng ating komunidad,” Secretary Nograles urged the public.
Of the 33,169 new cases as of January 10, 2022, Secretary Nograles reported that 97.1 percent of these new cases exhibit mild symptoms or are asymptomatic. Sec. Nograles said that while there are more COVID-positive cases now than during the September 2021 surge, there are less people developing severe and critical forms of the disease. “Dahil ito sa malawakang pagbabakuna,” Nograles remarked.
The Palace official added, “Please allow us to reiterate that the protection provided by vaccines comes not just in the form of reducing the likelihood of infection––it also comes in the form of reducing the risk of developing severe COVID symptoms. Pag bakunado po kayo, malaki po ang chance na kung mahawa man kayo ng COVID, magiging mild lang po ang symptoms ninyo,” Nograles emphasized.
The Palace official likewise underscored the need to vaccinate some three million senior citizens who are yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, citing a World Health Organization statement that “senior citizens are at highest risk of deaths due to COVID-19,” adding also the fact that 7 out of 10 deaths in the country are in patients 60 years old and above.
“Pakiusap po namin sa mga lolo at lola, at sa kanilang mga mahal sa buhay: for yourselves and your families, please, please get vaccinated. Our seniors are vulnerable to COVID-19,” Sec. Nograles stressed.
As for the fully vaccinated, Nograles reiterated that booster doses can be availed of at least three months after the last dose from the primary vaccine series if vaccinated with vaccines from Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, and Sputnik; while those vaccinated with the one dose vaccine from Janssen can have their booster dose after two months.
“Hindi kami magsasawa sa pagpa-paalala: Ang mga bakuna natin laban sa COVID-19 ay may Emergency Use Authorization mula sa Food and Drug Administration. Lahat ng ito ay ligtas at epektibo. Lahat––anuman ang brand–– ay nagbibigay ng proteksyon laban sa severe at critical cases ng coronavirus,” said Secretary Nograles.
As of January 10, 2022, more than 114 million total doses have been administered nationwide, according to the National COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard. More than 62 million Filipinos have received a first dose of a vaccine, more than 53 million are now fully vaccinated, and more than 3.5 million have received a booster dose.
Meanwhile, to help address the increasing hospital care utilization rate, Nograles appealed to those with mild or moderate symptoms and those who are asymptomatic to help protect the healthcare system by isolating at home. “This will help us prioritize healthcare facilities for those with severe and moderate cases of COVID, or high-risk COVID cases with comorbidities,” said Nograles.
Nograles, who is concurrent spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID), reminded that home isolation shall only be allowed if the patient has a separate bedroom with toilet, and if not living with elderly, children, or those with comorbidities.
“Let’s do our part to prevent the spread of COVID; if you suspect that you have COVID, stay home, isolate, at makipag-ugnayan sa inyong LGU o sa doktor tungkol sa telemedicine,” said Nograles. ### OPS