Health Secretary Francisco Duque III reiterated the importance for the public to have themselves listed in their respective areas in preparation for their vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Ang patuloy na paalaa ay magpalista sa kanilang mga local government units para mapaghandaan ang kanilang pagbabakuna (Our constant reminder is for the public to register with their local government units to prepare for their vaccination),” Duque said during President Duterte’s “Talk to the People” on Thursday night, May 13.
Duque, during the symbolic vaccination event in Makati City early Thursday, said that continued vigilance is crucial especially with the detection of new coronavirus variants in the country.
Currently, he noted that the South African variant is the most common variant in the country based on the latest round of genome sequencing.
As a response, Duque underscored the need for stronger border control. “We need to level up even more our border control which covers not only travel bans but also more importantly ensuring the 14-day quarantine period is strictly complied with,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Duque noted that coronavirus variants are now present worldwide because part of the characteristics of viruses is to mutate. “Not all mutations are necessarily bad, there are neutral although of course, there are variants of concern of WHO [World Health Organization] which can be more transmissible,” he added.
These variants of concern, Duque said, are also constantly monitored especially on their possible effect on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
“There’s a possibility of affecting the efficacy or effectiveness of the vaccines but there’s no sufficient data to prove whether they are really going to induce the phenomenon of immune escape wherein the virus in the antibodies generated by the natural infection and by the vaccination will escape,” Duque said.
Aside from registering in their respective LGUs for vaccination programs, Duque also reminded the public to strictly follow the guidelines under the new community quarantine classifications approved by the President.