The government has appealed to the public to complete their two-dose vaccination to thwart the threat of the more contagious Delta coronavirus variant.
Citing health experts, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the country’s’ vaccine supplies remain “strongly effective” against the Delta threat but the people must be fully vaccinated.
“Epektibo po ang mga bakuna laban sa Delta variant? Ang sagot ay opo. Ang mahalaga ay makumpleto ang dalawang doses (Are vaccines still effective against Delta variant. The answer is yes. It is important to compete the two doses of vaccination),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Wednesday, July 21.
Roque noted that despite the increase in cases, the Public Health England (PHE) released a report showing two doses of AstraZeneca vaccines could help keep people out of the hospital. He noted that the AstraZeneca jabs were still 92 percent effective against hospitalization and showed no deaths due to the Delta variant.
Roque also said health experts reported that Delta variant was 40 percent to 60 percent more transmissible over the Alpha variant. If a case with Alpha variant can infect four to five people, those infected with Delta variant can infect up to eight persons.
The country has more than 27 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, including Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Sputnik V, and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson jabs. Additional supplies are expected to arrive in the coming days to boost the government’s free inoculation drive. Over 5 million people have been fully vaccinated so far.
The Delta variant, first detected in India, has been largely responsible for the latest surge of infections in dozens of countries.
The local health authorities already reported over 30 cases of Delta variant in the Philippines, including three deaths. President Duterte has expressed concern about the latest virus threat and bared plans to impose stricter restrictions to curb the local transmission of the Delta variant.
To fight the Delta threat, Roque said the government would intensify strategies to prevent, detect, isolate or quarantine, test and treat coronavirus cases.
He said minimum public health standards, including physical distancing, will also be strictly enforced. Authorities will also ensure the country’s health system capacity would be sufficient.
As of July 20, the country has recorded more than 1.517 million cases of coronavirus, including 26,844 deaths.