New coronavirus variants call for faster rollout of booster shots

On November 25, 2021, a woman received a booster shot at an elementary school in Marikina City – Philippine Star / Michael Varkas

By Reverend Mikhail d. Ochav
And Loose Wendy T. Nobel, Journalists

Delivery of booster doses of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine should be accelerated to prevent new variants from launching another wave that could derail economic recovery, experts say.

Steven T. Kua, president of the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association, said The commercial world Group members and their employees are being encouraged to get their COVID-19 booster shots as soon as possible via a mobile phone message last week.

“I am running a massive campaign to get all our employees to get their booster shots. With 27 million doses of the vaccine partially expiring and partially coping with the epidemic, with a small portion of the population using booster shots and a P2 trillion debt to partially combat the epidemic, this can hardly be described as a situation (which is well managed). Dr. Kuya.

Previous uprisings have been driven by COVID-19 variants such as Delta and Omicron. New recombinant variants, such as the Omicron XE, are being blamed for recent growth in other countries.

Mr Kua said these new forms were a threat because they could hamper the recovery of the retail sector from the epidemic.

“(The new COVID-19 variant) must be (a threat). The recovery road has been repeatedly sidetracked. We have the right to do so but the government and the people are failing to understand what needs to be done to move forward, “said Mr Kua.

ING Bank NV Manila Senior Economist Nicholas Antonio T. Mappa mentions how previous uprisings required stricter restrictions He said another Kovid-19 wave could dampen both consumer and business sentiment and offset profits as the economy slowly reopens.

“Economic recovery will be maximized with lower-level sanctions (as it allows for free flow of people and trade) while virus mitigation will also help strengthen business and consumer sentiment,” Mr Mapa said in an e-mail.

After expanding 5.7% in 2021, the government is targeting 7-9% economic growth this year.

The ASEAN + 3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) said last week that the biggest threat to recovery in the Philippines is the potential resurgence of the COVID-19 infection. Health experts recently warned of an increase in COVID-19 cases following the May election, citing a “reduced immunity” of many vaccinated Filipinos who did not receive booster shots.

The Department of Health (DoH) says of the 45 million Filipinos who are eligible for booster shots, only 11.8 million received the additional COVID-19 vaccine dose.

Rosemary B. Wong, president of the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA), said in a mobile phone message that the government should urge the public to take their booster shots as soon as possible and adhere to health protocols.

“Like any variant, once (these forms) spread, they will become a threat. However, let us be hopeful that it will not reach our country. Let’s push for more people to use booster shots, “said Mrs. Wong.

Businesses need to start “their employees need to get their booster shots,” Mr Kua said.

“The solution is still within our reach. It’s not too late, but we must (together) work together on this, “he added.

John Paolo R. Rivera, an economist at the Asian Institute of Management, said the government should step up vaccination efforts, given the current low prevalence of Covid-19 infection.

“New waves are always possible with new variants. We should have learned from the last two years that it is better to be resilient than to be reactive, “Mr Rivera said in a Viber message.

“It’s a choice to get vaccinated / improved with compliance with the minimum health standards or to get delayed vaccinations with a relaxed protection protocol at the expense of the economy, the cost of the job,” he added.

DoH data also show that as of March 30, 65.9 million Filipinos have completed their dose of the vaccine. This was less than the government’s goal of fully vaccinating 77 million Filipinos by the end of March.

The Food and Drug Administration last week approved a second booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for the elderly, immunocompromised individuals and frontline health workers.

“This second booster dose will be given at least four months after the first booster. For moderately and severely immunocompromised patients, a second booster may be given earlier subject to the assessment of the attending physician, “the health department said in a statement.

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