Health reform advocate and former special adviser of the National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 Dr. Anthony “Tony” Leachon, on Thursday, April 28, urged the government to enhance its Covid-19 vaccination and booster programs following the detection of the Omicron subvariant called BA.2.12 in the Philippines.
“Ang importante for me is not to panic and close [the] borders. Ang kailangan [din] natin gawin ngayon is to enhance our vaccination program and booster program, ‘yun ang kasagutan dito (The important thing is not to panic and close the borders. What we also need to do now is to enhance our vaccination and booster programs – that’s what we need to do),” said Leachon in an interview over DZRH.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) has yet to declare that the BA.2.12 is a variant of interest (VOI) or variant of concern (VOC), Leachon still urged the public to remain vigilant, especially now that the mobility in the country is high due to the electoral campaign period.
The expert likewise reiterated that projections from independent group OCTA Research, medical experts, Department of Health (DOH), and WHO showed that another Covid-19 surge may take place following the national and local elections.
Leachon said that this surge may occur due various factors which include the emergence of new Covid-19 variants, waning immunity, and non-compliance to the minimum public health standards.
Meanwhile, DOH’s data revealed that the country’s first BA.2.12 Omicron subvariant case had nine close contacts in Quezon City, five in Benguet, and 30 while aboard the commercial flight to Manila.