According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more people in the Philippines should be vaccinated to prevent a further increase in coronavirus infections as they move toward lifting all lockdowns.
Local governments should launch a door-to-door vaccination campaign to reach out to more people, WHO representative Rajendra Yadav said in a televised news briefing on Monday, adding that less than 70% of people in many villages have not yet been vaccinated.
“We shouldn’t rely on the number of cases to find out if we have too many covids,” he said. “We need to focus on increasing vaccinations [rate].
Mr Yadav said the increase in “social cohesion” during the holy week made people less likely to be infected if they wore face masks, avoided crowds and gathered in a fully ventilated area.
He said there could be up to 300,000 active coronavirus infections in the Philippines if people ignored health protocols. “We have to prove those numbers wrong, that’s our challenge.”
Mr Yadav noted that in South Korea, which has half the population of the Philippines, 600,000 people are infected every day.
“The good thing is Filipinos are one of the best at wearing masks,” he said. “Recently there has been a slight decline in the wearing of masks. That shouldn’t be the case, and we need to keep our people vaccinated. “
WHO officials say the agency prefers to use the term “up-to-date with the proposed schedule” rather than a full vaccination.
“Complete vaccination is a big word because obviously, it can vary depending on the evidence developed. It’s best to use ‘up-to-date’ with the proposed schedule,” he added.
Reaching a local level through widespread transmission is “not a great picture,” he said.
“Endemic is not a great picture because many local diseases like tuberculosis kill millions of people,” Mr Yadav said. “Rather, we must aim for sustainable control of the coronavirus epidemic.”
The Philippines recorded 1,674 coronavirus infections between April 11 and 17, down 12% from a week earlier, the Department of Health (DoH) said in a statement Monday.
Another 200 died, 51 this month, 21 in March, 35 in February and 36 in January.
The agency said 664 severe and severe coronavirus patients or 11.5% of total admissions were hospitalized.
The DoH said that as of April 17, 2,842 intensive care unit (ICU) beds had used 450 or 15.8%, with 24,645 non-ICU beds occupying 4,164 or 16.9%.
It added that as of April 17, 66.85 million people had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, while 12.64 million people had received booster shots.
Meanwhile, the The Department of Health says the rollout of second booster shots for some sectors has been postponed until the Health Technology Evaluation Council (HTAC) makes a final recommendation.
The local Food and Drug Administration has approved the urgent use of booster shots for senior citizens, critically ill people and health advocates.
Meanwhile, Japan has provided a ঋ 30 billion (P12 billion) diplomatic loan to the Philippines to support its epidemic response and economic recovery, the State Department said in a statement.
The second phase of the emergency loan adds a প 50 billion loan package signed in July 2020.
The latest debt supports government efforts to revive the economy, provide social protection and relief, and build public health and economic resilience against future epidemics.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency will explore new ways to provide its development cooperation program in response to the immediate needs of the Philippines, according to the statement. – And Alyssa Nicole and. Tan