Vaccine expert warns of possible emergence of another COVID-19 variant if public keeps violating health protocols

Published June 19, 2021, 3:41 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

A vaccine expert warned Saturday, June 19, that another coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variant could possibly emerge if the public, including those fully vaccinated individuals, keeps violating the minimum public health standards set by the government.


Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) chair Dr. Nina Gloriani urged the public to be “very careful” as the threats of COVID-19, specifically the “more problematic” and “highly transmissible”Delta variant, continue.

“We’re not off the hook yet. Nagbabakuna na po tayo pero mababa pa rin ang ating coverage, pareho lang halos tayo ng Indonesia, four to five percent, malayo pa po (We are already vaccinating but our coverage is still low, we are almost the same as Indonesia, four to five percent, it’s still far),” she said in an interview with TeleRadyo on Saturday.

She said there is no room for error and complacency, as the World Health Organization (WHO) had warned that the Delta variant“is becoming the globally dominant variant” of COVID-19.

“Ang mga variants, kahit sabihin nating napigilan ang pagdami ng Delta variant, magkamali na naman tayo o maging lax na naman tayo dadami na naman po ‘yan at ang pagdami ng virus, ‘yan ‘yung dadami ang mutation, baka hindi na lang Delta variant ang makita natin, baka iba pa. (The variants, even if we say that the increase of the Delta variant has been stopped, if we will make mistakes again or we will be lax again, that will increase again and the increase of the virus, that is when the mutation increases, maybe not just the Delta variant that we see, maybe something else),” Gloriani said.

“We have to be very, very careful. Listen to what the experts say, yung minimum public health standards ituloy po natin (let’s continue following minimum public health standards),” she added.

WHO’s Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan on Friday, June 18, told Reuters that “the Delta variant is well on its way to becoming the dominant variant globally because of its increased transmissibility.”

Gloriani said the snowballing calls to ease the quarantine and health protocol restrictions for international travelers who have already been fully vaccinated should be further studied.

“Until mapag-aralan mabuti ang lahat yan (Until all of these have been studied), we have to still use the same precautions, the same guidelines and policies. Pagaaralan ng mabuti yan.”

She said intensified vaccination and strict border control should be prioritized as the Department of Health (DOH) has of far logged 13 cases of Delta variant in the country.