Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. was not inclined to support the implementation of Alert Level 0 in the entire Philippines despite the improved Covid-19 situation.
Galvez, in an interview Friday night, March 11, said that certain safety protocols such as the wearing of masks and practicing of social distancing should still be maintained to keep a sense of vigilance among the public.
“Mahirap ito kasi (It’s difficult because) once we talk of Alert Level 0, the complacency will begin now,” Galvez told reporters.
He insisted that despite the decreasing infections, the public should keep their guards up since no one could say when a new strain of the coronavirus will occur.
“It will eat up the mindset of the Filipinos. Bababa na ‘yung kanilang vigilance (Their vigilance will also decrease),” the vaccine czar noted.
The proposal to put the entire country under Alert Level 0 was made by Dr. Roentgen Solante, an infectious disease expert and member of the country’s Vaccine Expert Panel.
Solante said that the decreasing number of new Covid-19 cases and the low healthcare utilization rate could be used as basis why the country is “ready” for a de-escalation to Alert Level 0.
Under the proposed Alert Level 0, the Covid-19 pandemic will be treated as an ordinary infection like the seasonal flu and almost all safety restrictions will be removed.
But Galvez said that it will be prudent to just wait for the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare Covid-19 as an endemic before talks of Alert Level 0 are entertained.
He also noted that the vaccination rate in the country has been on a decline in the past few months, adding to the concern that most of the fully vaccinated individuals have now lower immunity against Covid-19.
As such, Galvez urged the public to have themselves boosted since the efficacy of the two-dose vaccine starts to wane after about six months.
In connection, the government has concluded the fourth “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” National Vaccination Day on Saturday, March 12.
Data from the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) showed that as of Saturday joon, a total of 836,162 people were vaccinated during the three-day massive inoculation drive. This represented only 44.49 percent of the target 1.8 million jabs of the government.
Out of the number, 202,915 individuals were jabbed with their first dose; 359,546 were given with their second dose; and 273,701 received their booster shots.
Among those included in the fourth round of the NVD were persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) from the Maximum Security Compound of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
Galvez said that the Saturday’s vaccination of PDLs, dubbed as Oplan Inside Jab, sought to inoculate about 500 individuals.